Battle of the super apps: Which is the best in Southeast Asia?

Battle of the super apps: Which is the best in Southeast Asia?

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Grab was found to be the "Best super app" across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam with an average total index score of 63, according to research by Ipsos which surveyed 3,500 respondents. Grab's score was highest in Singapore and Vietnam, followed by Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Shopee emerged in second place, with an average total index score of 52. Following Shopee was Lazada (42), Gojek (22), Tokopedia (14), Traveloka (12), AirAsia (10), BliBli, BukaLapak, and JDID (10 each), GCash (8), Touch n Go eWallet (7), Lineman (6), Be (5), and Zig (3).

Ipsos determined that a super app should be an app that offers more than three digital services, such as transportation, eCommerce, payments, food delivery, grocery shopping, and others. Social media-based apps were not included in the survey.


Four research indicators were taken into account when finalising the ranking, the first being user experience. According to Ipsos, the user experience indicator looks at the user experience and usability of an app, and the total score is determined through a combination of attributes including the ease of discovery, reliability, ease of access, and security.

In this measure, Ipsos said Grab came out ahead of the other super apps. In second place was Shopee, followed by Lazada and Gojek.

The engagement indicator points to which super app is used the most, and the score is based on brand used most often measures, as well as user satisfaction and service quality. On this dimension, Shopee was ranked first, followed by Grab, then Lazada.

Meanwhile, the awareness indicator determines which super app is more popular or widely known by digital application users. According to Ipsos, this indicator is measured based on two attributes - top of mind recall and total awareness, or which super app is the most recognisable to users.

As for usefulness, Ipsos measured three attributes: the frequency of use in one month, the number of digital services used in a month, and the nominal rating of user transactions on a super app. Shopee ranked at the top of this measure, followed by Grab and then Lazada in third position.

Given the fluidity of how super apps are defined, Soeprapto Tan, MD of Ipsos in Indonesia, said the team first designed a set of criteria to determine what a "super app" was.

"That allowed us to come up with a shortlist of super app candidates in each country, which we then assessed, based on user ratings, across what we considered to be the four core dimensions of a super app – user experience, engagement, awareness and usefulness," he explained.

The survey was conducted across 3,500 respondents aged over 18 years for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The respondent criteria based on age, gender, and marital status, occupation, education, and economic status, are used to ensure that sample includes the distribution of the population of super app digital service users.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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