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The power of one - will multi-purpose super apps replace all other apps?

Super App

How does an app become a super app? Much like Superman, it gains extra powers. With mobile software applications available to assist us with almost every aspect of our lives, including socialising, ticket purchasing, shopping, fitness, banking and more, there’s a reason the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ was coined by Apple back in 2009.

More than a decade later, enter the super app; a one-stop platform with multiple solutions built into it so users don’t have to interact with numerous different apps. Referred to as an umbrella app, the super app offers a multitude of services geared towards the everyday needs of its users, and for this reason, it is gaining traction in the financial services space.

The uptake of super apps is particularly high among users on the African continent, one of the fastest growing app markets in the world, according to a report by AppFlyer. The mobile penetration rate in sub-Saharan Africa has risen significantly since 2012, and by 2025 it is expected that half of the population will subscribe to a mobile service. A pain point, though, is that most mobile phones used are low-end and don’t have a lot of storage space.

While smartphone shipments into Africa are growing year-on-year, a MasterCard and Economist impact report showed that 85% of all smartphones shipped into Africa in the first quarter of 2021 were low-end models.

Super apps address this pain point by bringing together a range of experiences, services and functions onto a single platform that customers already feel confident using, saving precious storage space and broadband. With 57% of Africans living without a traditional bank account, these super apps are understandably growing in popularity as a gateway to financial inclusion.

The recent advancements in open banking are powering these super apps by maximising personalisation, using financial data from the right partners to meet users’ various needs – all on one platform. Using innovation and ingenuity, fintechs are responding to the unique challenges of Africa’s residents, and the bourgeoning young digital-savvy citizens are here for it.


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