Are Superapps the Future of App Ecosystems?

Next-generation apps require interconnected data infrastructure to deliver multifaceted user experiences

Simon Lockington
Are Superapps the Future of App Ecosystems?

The Asia-Pacific region is no stranger to mobile-first experiences. Hosting an environment conducive to high rates of internet penetration and smartphone usage, the region has become a hotbed and leading driver for the meteoric rise of apps.[1] Findings from the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, recently announced by Equinix, indicate that 90% of Fortune 500 companies will become digital providers by 2027, both selling their own and consuming ancillary digital services. Enterprises are recognizing that mobile applications are a key avenue to adding value for their customers through digital services, as well as improving their own operational effectiveness. The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for 64% of global mobile app downloads and is predicted to contribute 45% of mobile app market growth between 2020 and 2024.[2] Users are frequently turning towards apps to make their lives more convenient, accessing digital services that are more affordable in comparison to their physical counterparts and often easier to use as well. Given that 17% of app users drive 85% of all app revenue,[3] enterprises that are keen to engage with the most valuable consumers must turn towards more innovative approaches to differentiate their digital offerings and applications.

Apps are evolving into superapp platform ecosystems

Traditional mobile apps are primarily point-driven solutions that would take you from point A to point B; allowing you to deliver food from a restaurant to your home or providing you with all the financial services of a physical bank branch in the palm of your hand. Many of these traditional apps are now transitioning into superapps, where an ecosystem is created within the app to offer a user library of customizable mini-app services on one platform. Superapps are becoming an integral part of the digital economy in Asia-Pacific, gaining traction amongst digital-first organizations looking to capture new opportunities in their respective industries and adjacent markets.

The arrival of superapps has changed the way consumers are engaging with digital services and enterprises. As superapps become more ubiquitous in our daily lives, enterprises must audit their own digital service capabilities and explore digital solutions that allow them to provide differentiated experiences and services to their customers anywhere in the world. Superapps operate as collaborative network ecosystems between different entities on a digital infrastructure like Platform Equinix®. In a superapp-defined future, users would be able to access all the services they need, whether it is to order food, book a flight, reserve a hotel and post it on social media all from a single app ecosystem without skipping a beat.

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Solving the data constraints of superapp growth and development

One of the main barriers to entry for enterprises is the challenges of creating an effective interconnected digital ecosystem with the prerequisite supporting data infrastructure necessary to implement and operate their superapp. Vendors and service providers must be able to connect multiple application functions under one comprehensive experience ecosystem that continues to evolve and grow based on the varying needs and wants of its consumers.[4] Robust, interconnected ecosystems like Platform Equinix offer enterprises and developers the tools, open-data architecture and infrastructure needed to effectively deploy digital experiences. Both internal development teams and external partners can effectively collaborate, build and deploy modular mini-apps to a superapp ecosystem supported by a foundational, neutral cloud platform.

Micro-services amplify the superapp’s value for its users by creating convenient access to a diverse selection of services and effectively sharing relevant data between mini-apps like payment details, shared account data and loyalty rewards.[5] However, every additional new mini-app or micro-service brings along copious amounts of data that must be stored securely and accessed at any time in a low-latency environment. On-demand data storage becomes a critical operational component of an enterprise’s superapp data infrastructure to provide flexible capacity that can be adjusted based on the scope and speed of growth for any given superapp. Physical colocation infrastructure like Equinix Metal® can be deployed on the edge, acting as an interconnection backbone for instant data transfer and secure storage for vast amounts of sensitive user data to support the constant evolution of a diverse superapp ecosystem.

Superapps for anything, everything, everywhere

Superapps capture attention, creating convenience for their users by making experiences and services easier to consume. Users can now access multiple commonly used digital services like ride-hailing, online delivery, mobile payments and more without having to cycle between separate applications. Through a selection of mini-apps, users can plug and play the services and features they interact with most frequently directly on the superapp for a highly tailored experience that caters to all their diverse needs. By allowing users to toggle in their preferences, they can opt-in to targeted marketing offerings that are relevant to the products and services that they regularly consume.[6]

As superapps grow in popularity and function, mini-apps and microservices are globalized in preparation for entering new markets and meeting worldwide consumer demand. Enterprises looking to expand their reach via new markets with their superapp can quickly scale operations by accessing Network Edge through Equinix Fabric®, which enables deployment in new locations without requiring any additional hardware investments or IT equipment. This means a reduction in time to market and increased agility for capturing rising consumer demand of digital services in new regions, while facilitating transparent, uninterrupted and seamless digital experiences distributed on a superapp platform.

Superapps are shaping up to be one-stop digital experiences

Organizations across all industries creating and integrating their use of superapps have a massive opportunity to offer top-of-the-line user experiences to the business community and end-users through their own platform. Equinix is committed to serving businesses with the digital solutions they need to improve their customer experiences on every axis and create superapps that have the potential to drive audience growth, create more cross-selling opportunities and in turn, increase their bottom-line and revenue-generating capabilities.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how your organization can leverage digital infrastructure to build and scale a superapp ecosystem.

[1] https://www.data.ai/en/go/state-of-mobile-2023/

[2] https://www.mmaglobal.com/files/documents/mma_adjust_mobile_app_trends_2021.pdf

[3] https://www.slideshare.net/RadiumOne/radiumone-state-of-mobile-acquisition-report-59902950

[4] https://agiletech.vn/super-apps-examples-review-2021/

[5] https://deloitte.wsj.com/articles/forecasting-the-future-of-super-apps-01664903214

[6] https://community.hpe.com/t5/advancing-life-work/super-apps-rising-digital-giants/ba-p/7151797#.ZFC1yexBz0o

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Simon Lockington Senior Director, Solutions Architects - APAC
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