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The rise and rise of the all-in-one lifestyle app

South Africa could be the next big market for all-in-one apps, writes ANDRE HUGO, co-founder and CEO of Spot Money



cheerful man entering details of credit card on smartphone on street

Life without apps? It’s hard to imagine. How would you wake up in the morning? Browse the news? Listen to music? Order food? Apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, Uber, Mr Delivery and any number of banking apps have become such an integral part of our daily lives.

Right now, there are 24 places for apps on your home screen – and chances are you’re using most of them. But a rapidly growing breed of multi-functional apps wants to change all that.

At the moment, each of your apps offers a specific kind of service or product. Bring them all together on one platform, and suddenly you have an all-in-one app that you can use for practically everything. You can pay for shopping, whether online or in-store, with a card or by scanning a QR code. Buy airtime and electricity. Pay your bills. Manage shared expenses. Pay a friend. Shop around for the best deals on insurance or loans. Earn rewards when you shop. And more.

In the past couple of years, lifestyle apps have become hugely popular in emerging markets, particularly Asia. Tencent’s WeChat and AliPay allow users to use a range of transport and mobility services, shop, indulge in some gaming, watch video, plan and book travel, watch cinema, buy micro-insurance and access financial services – without ever leaving the app. WeChat alone has more than a billion users a month, and it’s growing.

In Latin America, Rappi has evolved from food delivery to provide services ranging from peer-to-peer payments to movie tickets. You can ask a Rappi delivery man to walk your dog, buy you clothes or pay for services, while watching live concerts, streaming music, and playing video games.

We believe South Africa could be the next big market for all-in-one apps. They’re coming for the prime spot on your home screen – and there are four good reasons why:

Ease of use

Consumers are constantly looking for greater simplicity and ease of use. They don’t want to have to open 15 different apps to do the things that are important in their lives. They want one app that’s tailored for them, and shaped around their specific lifestyle needs. Whether they’re banking, shopping for retail goods or financial products like loans and insurance, or paying bills, they want to get their transactions done within three or four clicks.

Value exchange

Most older users bank at the same bank that their parents banked. Younger generations have a different view: they’re multi-banked. Their loyalty to a particular bank depends on whether there’s a real exchange of value. One-stop apps create the ability for financial services providers to generate this type of value through mechanisms like the ability to get rewards for referring friends, for example.


The need for greater convenience and everything on-demand has grown over recent years and shows no signs of slowing down – the rise of marketplaces, ‘everything as a service’ and now, the all-in-one app is testament to this! By connecting customers and merchants on one platform, lifestyle apps take convenience to the next level.

Trust and safety

Another major benefit of these new-generation all-in-one apps is added trust and safety of transactions. Because all the services are linked on a single platform, users don’t expose themselves to the increased risk associated with having their bank or credit card details floating around across multiple apps/platforms.

There’s no doubt that all-in-one apps are going to play an increasingly important part in the way we interact with the world, from morning until night.

One app, one sign-in, a seamless, integrated user experience, for any product or service you may want or need? Sign me up.

  • Andre Hugo is co-founder and CEO of South Africa’s newest money app, Spot Money