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‘Super apps’ set to drive conversational commerce boom as shoppers search for convenience

The use of ‘super apps’ that combine messaging, social, content and payments are set to drive a boom in conversational commerce in the coming five years, with shoppers looking at discovery and purchase on a single platform as the key to convenience.

A new study by Juniper Research has found that global spend via these conversational commerce channels will near $135 billion by 2027; rising from $39 billion in 2023. It goes on to say that, by 2027, 47% of spend will be attributable to Over the top (OTT)-based channels, such WhatsApp and WeChat.

Specifically, as these and other ‘super apps’ increasingly provide multiple services within a single interface, much more engaging commerce interactions will be orchestrated. 

The report, Conversational Commerce: Business Model Analysis, Value-added Services & Market Forecasts 2022-2027, finds that Asia Pacific leads the way and will account for 75% of total spend over conversational commerce channels in 2027. This will be driven by country-specific apps such as WeChat, LINE and KakaoTalk embedding in-house payment solutions.

WeChat has already seen a boom in use – particularly for payments – during this year’s Chinese New Year, with 23% more traffic than last year and a growing number of UK and non-Chinese retailers using the site.

The research also  identifies that the versatility of these apps, which combine features from WhatsApp, Twitter, PayPal and Uber, will be key to developing a strong digital marketplace; offering an improved user experience.

But the phenemonon won’t be confined to Asia. The research forecasts that the total number of OTT-based conversational commerce users in Europe and North America will rise by 179% to reach 33.4 million by 2027. 

However, for these regions to emulate the success of Asia Pacific, communication platform providers must ensure that they are able to support the influx of traffic from OTT messaging apps, as well as the ability to provide depth within these channels through the use of value-added services. This will ensure they remain an integral part of the ecosystem, as the capabilities of OTT messaging apps increase.

Research author Elisha Sudlow-Poole explains: “As the development of ‘super apps’ will create a new ecosystem for business messaging, communication service providers must ensure that they have strong, proactive partnerships with the most popular superapps to maximise their role in the conversational commerce value chain.”

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