Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Gulf to see a surge in ‘super apps’ in 2023, says Kuwaiti retailer

Super apps Careem
Super apps are increasing their presence across the Gulf region through firms such as Careem

The future of the Gulf’s digital service economy lies in the creation of increasingly popular super apps, according to Tarek Sakr, CEO of Kuwait-based e-commerce and classifieds platform 4Sale.

As technology continues to revolutionise the retail industry, building on the rapid shift to e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic, in an exclusive column for AGBI, Sakr said the demand for digital products and services will be driven by customer convenience.

That bears promise for super apps, which have been popular in Asia for some time, but are increasing their presence across the Gulf region through firms such as Careem, Revolut and Spotify.

Sakr said: “One class of technology business set to take off over the coming 12 months is the ‘super app’.

“A genuine innovation of the Far East’s burgeoning tech economy rising to prominence in recent years, super apps are the logical next step for Mena’s maturing digital service economy. In particular, the classifieds market has been continuously moving towards the super app business model.

“Ambitious classifieds businesses want to help you search, buy, finance, maintain, inspect, and insure products and services – and everything in between.”

The UAE online retail sector will be valued at $8 billion by 2025, up from $5 billion in 2021 and $2.7 billion in 2020, according to a report published in March by e-commerce hub EZDubai and global research firm Euromonitor International.

At the same time, a survey published in January by San Francisco-based digital advertising services firm AppsFlyer found that 84 percent of UAE businesses surveyed said mobile apps are now a ‘must’ to remain relevant to their customers.

Such apps spent $74 million last year on marketing costs to convince users to download their apps, a year-on-year increase of 35 percent.

Earlier this year Uber-owned app ride-hailing firm Careem bought the assets of Dubai-based money transfer platform Denarii, which was added to its super app, allowing customers and Captains (people who work with the company) to connect with remittance services.

Read Tarek Sakr’s column.

Latest articles

An artist's impression of part of the Diriyah Square development

Diriyah Square planned for historic Riyadh district

A public space featuring 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants and cafes is planned for the historic Riyadh district of Diriyah. Diriyah Square will be announced next week at the World Retail Congress in Paris and aims to attract a combination of international retail brands and local artisans.  Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]

Highway traffic in California. Opec said the upcoming 'driving season' in the US will provide the usual additional demand for fuel

Opec stands by predictions for oil demand growth

Opec predicts robust fuel use this summer and has stuck to last month’s forecast of relatively strong growth in oil demand in 2024 and 2025. The oil producers’ organisation predicted in its monthly report that global demand will rise by 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2024 and by 1.85 million bpd in 2025. […]