It's 2020, meaning it's kind of essential that we have an app for pretty much anything and everything. No one wants to carry cash anymore, no one wants to step out of their home, and no one wants to carry 10 bags of groceries (or clothes) up to their apartment floor.
Though some countries in the Arab region are still lagging behind in digital infrastructure, many GCC countries are ahead of the game. The apps culture in the Gulf has been growing in size in recent years — you'd be surprised how much.
From food delivery to rentals and transportation, people in the GCC can get so many things done with the tap of a finger nowadays. Homegrown apps have proven successful, so much so that they've changed how people go about their everyday lives.
Here are a few apps that shook things up in the Gulf in the past few years:
1. Talabat (GCC/Jordan)
Founded in 2004, Talabat is the largest online food ordering and delivery platform in the GCC. The successful app covers all Gulf countries (Oman, the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain) and one additional non-Gulf country, i.e. Jordan.
Users of the app can order from over 4,300 restaurant partners and get their food delivered anywhere they want.
2. Carriage (GCC/Egypt)
Carriage is another delivery app that made it big in countries across the GCC and has since expanded to Egypt.
The firm behind the app says it "offers the fastest food delivery service in the Middle East with an estimated average delivery time of 25 minutes." Carriage allows its users to order from over 2,000 different restaurants. It's worth noting that it isn't just limited to food orders.
Carriage also provides people with an on-demand delivery service for nearly every kind of product. From flower shops to groceries and cosmetics, this app has you covered when you're unable to pick something up yourself.
3. Yo Neighbor (UAE)
Launched in March 2017, Yo Neighbor is a UAE-based "sharing" app that enables users to borrow items they infrequently use from each other.
Communication takes place on the in-app messaging platform but payments are made in cash, rather than on the app itself.
The application was founded by Krystel Hoche, a Lebanese woman based in the UAE. She says the idea for the app came about after she moved to the country.
"Where I come from in Lebanon, it's normal when you need something to knock on the neighbor's door and borrow it. When I moved to the UAE, the conversations with my neighbors were always very formal and brief; I didn't feel I could borrow anything because I didn't know them well enough," she explained.
4. Testahel (Saudi Arabia)
Founded by Ahmed Al Shamrani and Ibraheem Alzuhaimeel, Testahel has gained massive popularity among thousands of parents in Saudi Arabia since its launch.
The app allows parents to track their children's behaviors in order to help them improve. It focuses on strengthening kids' ethical values and helps them build their financial skills via an interactive dashboard.
Parents can use the app to give their children rewards "based on their good behaviors and motivate them to do more good deeds."
5. Bilbayt (GCC)
Bilbayt is available for users in Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. It provides people with everything needed for catering dinners and events at home.
Users can create custom menus from several vendors based on their personal preferences. They can order live cooking stations, huge ice cream fountains, or make-your-own bars to keep their guests' tastebuds satisfied. How cool is that?
6. Nala (Saudi Arabia)
The Nala app is Saudi Arabia's leading digital health service which provides users "instant access to personalized healthcare" in Arabic.
The platform's success in the kingdom made it possible for its expansion. Last year, the company behind the app raised $1 million to help fund its artificial intelligence platform "that enables instant medical diagnosis."
7. Switch DXB (UAE)
SwitchDXB is a health, fitness, and wellness mobile app that inspires users to try out different physical activities.
From soothing rooftop yoga classes to energetic HIIT sessions underwater, the app caters to people with all sorts of needs and preferences. The SwitchDXB app allows its users to book and pay for the sessions on demand.