Super apps want to do it all — and they're already part of daily life for billions of people across the globe. This Market Map looks at the companies supporting brands and retailers on these far-reaching platforms by offering tools for marketing, commerce, and more.
Super apps are jacks of all trades. They create environments where users can communicate, buy stuff online, and access services like ride-hailing — all within a single app on a mobile device.
The super app approach is very successful in Asia but has yet to take hold in the US and Europe. That said, some big tech companies are looking to super apps as models to extend their reach with consumers.
While several apps could be considered “super apps” (including Alipay in China and Grab in South East Asia), WeChat and WhatsApp are two of the most notable examples for brands and retailers. Both have spawned ecosystems of technology to help businesses chat with, sell to, and collect data on consumers.
WeChat, for example, is based in China and serves a reported 1.2B active users. WhatsApp is estimated to serve an even larger audience of over 2B active users.
WeChat is a social app that combines the communication features of social media platforms like Facebook with online shopping and services like banking. WeChat also offers “mini-programs,” which allows businesses to build apps within WeChat, meaning they are less taxing on a user’s phone — this is particularly useful for lower-end smartphones where processing power and memory might be in short supply.
Meanwhile, Meta-owned WhatsApp is primarily an everyday communication tool for many of its users, but its super app capabilities are growing. While the app does not host the same mini-program infrastructure as WeChat, many enablement companies have found creative ways to integrate their offerings into the platform.
Using CB Insights data, we identified 74 super app enablement companies addressing 9 technology priorities for brands and retailers, from chat commerce & campaigning platforms to mobile commerce infrastructure.