The launch of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store opened up the (digital) door for individuals and businesses to come up with ideas and deliver these to the devices of people around the world. It brought to life new ways people live, work and play.
Fast forward 15 years since the launch of the App Store and 11 years of the Play Store, mobile applications are now an integral part of people’s daily lives.
From leisure and lifestyle to work and commerce, mobile applications have transformed the way people interact with technology, and how businesses engage with their customers. Once used as merely a phone, applications have turned mobile devices into a wallet, a gaming device, a television screen and so much more.
To celebrate the beginning of 2024, Appsynth, one of the region’s largest digital consultancies and Thailand’s leading mobile app experts, together with rankings supplied by data.ai – a mobile data analytics platform – reveal the 20 most downloaded apps published by Thai corporates to date.
The report groups the top downloaded apps by category and takes a look into the pivotal factors that have fueled their success. Additionally, it provides insights into the future trends for mobile applications.
Financial Services Apps Come Top of the List
Within Thailand’s roster of the 20 most downloaded mobile applications, a notable nine belong to the financial services sector. This includes digital wallets, payments and mobile banking applications. Among these, seven are provided by commercial banks, while two are from non-bank entities.
Despite the prevailing dominance of commercial banks in this category, it’s noteworthy that the most downloaded application, in this category and of all time, is provided by a non-bank entity, TrueMoney. The app secured sixth position five years ago. This underscores the game-changing impact fintechs and embedded finance solutions can bring to non-bank financial institutions, and potentially businesses in other industries.
TrueMoney (initially Wallet by TrueMoney) launched in 2013 as a digital wallet. Today, it has evolved into a versatile app with value added features that extend beyond its original payment capabilities. TrueMoney now includes utility bill payments, mobile top-up, savings and investment and peer-to-peer transfers, all complemented by a loyalty program that enables its users to earn points which can be redeemed for rewards and discounts.
Monsinee Nakapanant, Co-President of Ascend Money, the operator of TrueMoney, said,
“We’re grateful that our users entrust us with their transactions. Being the most downloaded app reflects our mission to enable everyone access to innovative financial services, uplifting Thais to better lives. This recognition is a strong reinforcement for our team to continue fulfilling our mission through nonstop innovation, effortless user experience and a secure platform that adds value to all users”.
Among the top five positions of the financial services category, notable entries are apps by Thailand’s leading commercial banks. Kasikorn Bank’s KPLUS, Krungthai Bank’s Krungthai NEXT, and Siam Commercial Bank’s SCB EASY consistently maintain their position among the top five over the past five years. Similar to TrueMoney, bank applications have since expanded their offering beyond core banking functions, now offering users services such as insurance, lending and loyalty campaigns.
Nithiruj Jirapreechasit, SVP – Head of the Digital Business Channel Management at Kasikorn Bank, stated;
“KPLUS strives to be an innovative and stakeholder-centric platform, delivering world-class financial services and sustainable value to all stakeholders.
We have developed KPLUS using a stakeholder-centric (stakeholders are Customer, Social, Regulator, Employee and Shareholder) approach by placing stakeholders at the centre of all actions to ensure their needs are really met with our features. KPLUS aims to be an Open Banking Platform that seamlessly integrates our financial services with users’ digital lifestyles.
This integration enables users to make transactions conveniently within their ecosystem and easily access the bank’s products and services, all while providing an exceptional user experience across channels and maintaining the highest security standards. These are our key success factors, and we will continue to innovate and enhance our application to serve our users even better”.
The way in which these applications have evolved is proof that for apps to remain relevant to users and competitive in the market, the focus must shift from a single /product-centric app and take on a user-centric approach, creating exceptional experiences and bringing true value to the end users.
Thailand, being one of the most connected countries in Southeast Asia with high internet and mobile penetration rates, reflects a tech-savvy population. In this environment, apps can no longer thrive with a singular purpose. The days where people switch between different apps for different tasks are waning. Brands are increasingly pivoting towards providing a holistic experience, positioning their app as top choice for users and the main entry point for their customer’s digital lives.
Food Delivery and Convenience Store Apps Secure Two Highflying Positions
In the space of food delivery, supermarkets and convenience stores, two noteworthy contenders have secured high positions in the list. Notably, 7-Eleven TH has made a significant leap, claiming the fifth position on the list – a huge rise from its 15th spot five years ago. With the launch of 7-Delivery in 2020 during the early days of Covid-19, the app now brings essential daily items to consumers’ doorsteps right when they need them.
Supattra Jinlert, VP Marketing of CP All, shared;
“It is our Company Vision to serve convenience to all communities and the launch of 7-Delivery enabled us to take convenience to a new level. With the added comfort of deliveries being sent by store staff who customers are already friendly with, 7-Delivery has quickly grown to over 10m happy customers. With a huge range of products, deals, promotions and campaigns, the 7-Eleven App has become a daily destination for Thai consumers”.
The Thai restaurant delivery scene has also undergone remarkable transformation. Major players in the space have taken the strategic shift from connecting hungry consumers with their favourite restaurants to a full-suite of services which cater to both the restaurant owner and end customers. Recently, more and more have looked to cross-platform collaboration, creating restaurant management solutions which connect the offline and online dining experience.
Yod Chinsupakul, CEO of LINE MAN Wongnai, stated;
“LINE MAN, as the Food Master, offers the largest selection of over a million restaurants at the best value for everyone. With over 10 million active users, our app provides on-demand food, grocery, messenger, and transportation services for Thai people nationwide”.
Entertainment and OTT Apps Hit a High Note
The second highest performing category is entertainment and OTT streaming applications, with TRUE ID, AIS Play, Ch7HD, Major Cineplex, BUGABOO.TV, and CH3 Plus leading the pack. Three of these mobile applications are developed by top TV stations. Both Ch7HD and BUGABOO.TV, are owned by Channel 7, which is the most popular TV station among Thais outside of Bangkok.
While on-demand video streaming is growing in popularity, Major Cineplex makes the list. This goes to show that despite the wide availability of streaming on mobile and TV screens, cinemas continue to be the place Thai consumers go for an experience that can’t be replaced at home.
Telco Apps Shift from Functional to Engaging
Thailand’s top three mobile carriers, True, AIS and DTAC, all made the list too. While users once perceived telco apps as a utility tool, all of these apps today have expanded functionality and features, incorporating entertainment content and reward programs. These additional functions have contributed to increased engagement for telcos, and along with it, enhance brand affinity.
The App Store launched in 2008 with 500 applications. As of 2023, there were more than 1.96 million available. At the end of 2023, there were 3.7 million Android apps on Google Play. With as much as 25% of users abandoning apps after first-time use, brands thinking about creating or planning the future of existing apps require noteworthy features to achieve continued adoption.
Bob Gallagher, CEO of Appsynth, commented;
“Appsynth proudly works with several of these companies, helping to maximise the impact of their digital investments. Many of the top 10 are now evolving into super apps, expanding their services beyond previous core offerings to deliver greater value to consumers. Opening up these platforms for third parties to innovate on top of will be the next evolution to unlock new opportunities. From what we see in the market super apps and open innovation will be growing trends for 2024 and beyond”.