mobile web app development

PWAs – An Alternative to Mobile App Development

In this fast-paced digital world, where technology is the new buzz, businesses are questioning what approach to use for mobile web app development. Several years ago, entrepreneurs had to decide between native, hybrid, and cross-platform mobile development. Today, another technology has emerged – Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). With the help of these apps, people can easily surf through the web browser and find answers to all their queries. Visiting a website is a lot faster than installing an application therefore, PWAs are becoming more popular in comparison to native mobile web app development.

In this article, we will uncover what Progressive Web Applications are, their most recent market stats, their benefits, significant features, and the limitations of this new alternative to mobile web app development.

Introduction – What are PWAs?

With a massive increase in the number of smartphone users worldwide, reaching around 3.5 billion and still expanding, the mobile web is the user’s new favorite. Initially introduced by Google in 2015, progressive web applications use a specific number of web technologies to create flexible and adaptable apps that take advantage of both the web and the native app features. This concept, however, is not new since progressive enhancement and responsive design already allows us to build mobile-friendly websites.

Market stats and Trends

According to Statista, US adults spend more than 3 hours on their phones daily. However, native apps, which were the most attractive feature of mobile web app development, are slowly declining. They are being substituted by progressive web app development due to the ease they provide for their users. Here are some key PWA stats to prove it:

  • PWAs have more than 36% conversion rates in comparison to native mobile web application development.
  • Their customer engagement rates are 50% higher.
  • Businesses shifting to PWAs see a significant decrease in page loading time by up to 10x, with the average load time being 2.75 seconds for a single page.
  • The cost for these apps is three to four times less than native mobile apps.
  • PWA apps are 90% smaller than native apps.
  • PWAs have a lower mean bounce rate of 42.86% compared to native apps which have about 60%
  • The page views have increased by 133.67%.

Benefits of PWAs for Online Businesses

According to a recent study, in 2021, mobile e-commerce will generate 53.9% of all online retail sales revenue. Today, with the help of PWAs, businesses are looking for ways to get their share of the mobile e-commerce market. Companies are moving to a much simpler solution by creating online shops directly on the browser rather than building new mobile apps.

Some benefits of PWAs are:

Cost-effectiveness

A well-defined tech stack is used by developers for PWAs which is more economical in comparison to native mobile app development where a variety of tech stacks can be used. Moreover, the developers don’t have to build apps for multiple platforms since a single app can function properly on both Android and iOS.

Reduced installation of new software updates

One of the core features of PWAs is discoverability which increases its competitiveness over native apps. Businesses using PWAs are several steps closer to launching them since they don’t have to follow strict protocols like apps being launched using specialized platforms like Google or Apple stores.

Smooth updates

Unlike traditional native apps, with PWAs, users do not need to install updates to have access to the latest version of the software.

Increased user management

Due to the frequency, flexibility, and faster accessibility users prefer moving apps to their home screens. The ability to do so makes PWAs more competitive in comparison to conventional web apps, which do not give the look and feel of native mobile apps.

PWA Features & Their Significance

PWA delivers attractive features and provides an app-like experience without installation, thus, elevating the user’s experience. A checklist of requirements set by Google has to be met by the PWA native features for the platform to become fast, reliable, and engaging.

Given below are some of the features of PWAs:

Low developmental expenditure

A single progressive app meets the requirements of all endpoints hence, it does not need different versions with varying functionalities for multiple devices. This significantly decreases the developer’s effort and reduces the overall app production cost.

App-like experience

Nowadays people prefer apps over browsers because they provide a user-friendly experience, an attractive interface, and most of the features of these apps are made available offline for users to use at their convenience. PWAs provide an enhanced user experience by incorporating the look and feel of mobile applications and also the best features of website performance. As a whole, PWAs provide the same experience native mobile apps do and are also deemed superior in comparison to conventional websites. They adhere to the same performance, speed, and responsiveness of websites with database access.

Swift installation

PWAs do not require extensive and complex installation processes like regular native apps, which significantly enhances the user experience. It streamlines the procedures and after the user has downloaded the app they can access it via a desktop icon. As this software does not prompt the user for installation on their devices, they can easily access the PWA via a URL, which contributes to easy shareability between its users.

Improved performance and platform compatibility

The cache and text are preserved in an efficient manner which increases the software running speed. With being quick, a flawless performance is another attribute that lifts the user experience. In comparison to mobile apps, PWAs provide a higher retention rate and greater customer loyalty. They are platform compatible and work everywhere unlike regular apps that demand operating systems and technicalities that have to be met to function properly. Cross-platform switching is also enabled for users who frequently shift between devices.

Automatic updates

A renewed look is available for the user after every update which happens automatically without the user being notified with permission requests.

Seamless offline performance

Websites require an internet connection to work properly but PWAs can function offline and under compromised circumstances, which makes them more convenient to use than websites. Built-in service providers download necessary features that allow users to access the apps without an internet connection.

No restrictions due to distribution services

Application distribution services like Google PlayStore and Apple Store set the bar high for apps that use their platform to reach the target end-user. Fulfilling these requirements can be a very nerve-wracking and time-consuming process. So, that’s where PWAs come to save the day by being available for free with no restrictions.

Improved security

For data’s safety and security, PWAs rely on the HTTPS protocol. The apps also use the Web Bluetooth Technology that adds further advantage by providing security capabilities.

PWA Limitations

Progressive apps are indeed an outstanding alternative to native apps but they too have some shortcomings like:

Unavailability on app stores

By not being available on app stores, these apps are missing out on a considerable number of users who mainly depend on these distribution services for any downloading.

Limited capacity

Native apps are swifter because they are built using technologies like Java and Swift and hence the better performance. Due to the absence of these languages, it becomes challenging to implement advanced functionalities in PWAs.

Poor battery utilization

High-level code is used by developers to build PWAs, therefore, the battery power gets utilized at a faster pace.

Access to limited device features

PWAs are unable to access features like advanced cameras, Bluetooth, NFC, contact, and much more which hinders the phone usability. Also, Android and iOS do not fully support all PWA features.

Conclusion

Progressive web apps will help solve many challenges by enabling new capabilities in modern browsers. Besides having a powerful set of features, they will aid in engaging users who are not willing to make extra clicks just to download an application.

If you intend to provide an updated version of your website and a soaring level of satisfaction for your customer, each time they visit your website, then responsive web app development also known as PWAs, will help make all your dreams come true.

Are you planning to launch your next big Progressive Web App? If yes, then reach out, and help us understand all your problems so we can assist you through it all.