How did WhatsApp Transform from a Chat App to Super App?

Published On December 11th, 2023 Insights

From being a messaging app to a super app, WhatsApp has gone through a 360 transformation. Today, users can make payments, shop from business catalogs, and even make flight and hotel bookings on the platform.

WhatApp’s journey towards its super app status leaves us in awe and has been super progressive over the years.

What is Super App & How is WhatsApp One?

Super app is ideally a mobile application that clubs various mini apps under one roof, offering a wide range of services. Super apps usually cover In app chat messaging, video streaming, e-commerce, bookings, and more.

It’s only in recent years that the super-app landscape has gained such large user traction. While the concept of super apps originated in Asia, it has now widespread use in the US and European countries as well. The viral popularity of super apps is attributed to its convenience, effectiveness, and ease of use. 

Also, the global super app market is projected to grow to a whopping $463 bn by 2030. With such huge potential, Meta wanted to turn WhatsApp from an exclusive chat messaging app to a super app that offers diverse solutions. Hence, besides Instant Messaging, voice & video calling, WhatsApp now allows money transfer, you can run a WhatsApp business account, and even shop from a catalog, making it a super app. 

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More than Just Messaging—WhatsApp’s Super App Services

Here are some of the various other services WhatsApp offers besides being the most popular chat app. 

1. WhatsApp Communities

Creating groups and communities on the app fosters better engagement among friends, communities, or within organizations. 

2. Channels

This is one of the newest features similar to broadcast channels on Instagram, where channel owners can broadcast messages or media to multiple people on the channel at once.

3. Money Transfer

Peer-to-peer money transfer truly makes WhatsApp a super app. This feature allows users to send money to contacts easily by adding one’s bank account. 

4. Business Profiles

Introduction of business profiles by Meta greatly benefits businesses of all sizes as a way to reach customers or sell goods easily.

5. Product Catalog & Shopping

This comes as part of a business profile where product catalogs of the different items to be sold are displayed for customers to make easy purchases. 

6. Click-to-Chat “Customer Support”

Any WhatsApp user can create a click-to-chat link and post it on socials or elsewhere. This enables users to directly message without having to save the number. This comes most helpful for customer support. 

Over the Years—WhatsApp’s Evolution as a Super App 

Here’s a timeline of how WhatsApp evolved over time to its super app supremacy:

Whatsapp Evolution
Nov 2009Launched initially for iPhones, WhatsApp later was released as a one-to-one chat messaging app.
Feb 2017Group chat was introduced, laying the foundation for communities that will later be introduced. 
Jan 2018WhatsApp Business was launched as a standalone app for businesses & organizations to reach customers instantly.
Feb 2018Meta announced that users in selected countries could now send/ receive payments on the chat for easy transactions.
Sep 2022The products listed could now be grouped into and displayed as a separate catalog that users can shop from.
Sep 2023WhatsApp channel was brought live where users receive regular updates, broadcast messages, and media from channel owners.                                                                  

Perks of WhatsApp being a Super App

The incentives of WhatsApp being a super app are plenty. It offers a diverse range of services, helping users to stick to the app rather than juggling between multiple platforms. 

Users find WhatsApp most convenient for the below reasons:

  • Multiple solutions in one place
  • Less app storage space since it clubs several app features
  • Easy search/ discovery for the right services
  • Secure & simplified money transactions

What Does the Future Hold for Super Apps Like WhatsApp?      

 WhatsApp is constantly improvising and making additions to build the app as a comprehensive platform for communication, commerce, community interactions, and more. This is exactly what makes it a super app that users prefer most. 

Whatsapp as a Superapp

However, it is not just WhatsApp we are talking about here, apps like WeChat and AliPay are the most popular super apps with billions of active users. Besides traditional messaging, these apps are profoundly used for shopping, bookings, payment transactions, and more. 

Ideally, the super app market is growing at a CAGR of 27.8%, highlighting the fact that businesses have begun building in app chat app as a holistic package of multiple features that are most beneficial to users, increase engagement, and promote easy commerce. 


While standalone apps will still rule the market, an average mobile phone user uses only 40% of the apps he has downloaded. The rest are hardly being touched upon. This is because users only tend to open and reopen apps that are highly functional on a day-to-day basis. Apps like Whatsapp are fully cognizant about this and utilize the market potential by powering themselves into super apps that clubs all these services under one roof. The days to come will witness a soaring rise in In app chat apps being transformed to super apps that serve a myriad of different purposes.

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Gomathi Ramachandran

Gomathi is a product marketing buff, who is passionate about bringing meaningful strategies and approaches that redefines the modern messaging experience for users. She loves exploring the world of in-app communication with all of her heart.

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