According to research by Criteo that cited by eMarketer, up to 70% of all digital transactions happen on some form of mobile device using mobile app development.
This, therefore, goes to prove that any brand that not prepared to cater to the customers mobile experience is at risk of losing out on a big piece of its market share.
Of the 67% digital transactions, 47% of them were made with mobile applications compared to the 20% that were made on a mobile website.
It goes to show that mobile applications were not only effective in driving user retention and loyalty, but also have a higher conversion rate than mobile web development or desktop applications.
In fact, Criteo found out that in the retail and travel industries, mobile apps had 4 times more conversions than mobile websites.
Although native mobile app development had proven effective both in engaging and retaining customers, they are quite costly to build and maintain.
Therefore google backed a project that intended to bring that same native mobile app experience into a web browser.
What are progressive web apps?
Essentially, a progressive web app is a web application, built to look and feel like a native mobile application but in a web browser.
Alex Russell, a software engineer on the Chrome team, coined the term “Progressive Web App”.
They are intended to bridge the gap between native applications and mobile websites.
Benefits of progressive web applications:
They are able to work offline or on poor internet connection.
Progressive web apps are able to function when internet connections are being flakey e.g in a subway or in a low internet connection areas.
Since they installed within the browser, they still able to function offline compared to a mobile website that not load until you have internet access.
No need for installation
Progressive web applications don’t require any installation since they can be easily accessed in the browser and stored on the homepage with a single click.
Although brands reap from the massive rewards of native mobile applications once they downloaded; getting users to download them in the first place is the initial battle.
In fact, in the 2017 US Mobile Apps Report carried out by Comscore, they found out that 51% of users do not download any new apps.
Therefore, progressive web apps take away the hustle users have to go through to download the app since they can store it on their home screen with a single click.
Not subject to app store regulations
Progressive mobile apps do not need to be approved or rejected by app stores, which can take up to a week.
Since they are websites with a native mobile app feel, they instantly published when you host them and all your users have to do click and they will have them on their phones.
Compared to mobile websites, progressive web apps have the ability to send push notifications to your audience.
Push notifications, a significantly higher open rate than emails. And can be a great tool in your arsenal especially for e-commerce companies.
Low data on the device
Yes, progressive web apps arguably take up less storage space than native mobile apps. It is simply because the native app resides on a smartphone (code and files).
Whereas, a PWA is a web app, with most of its contents residing on the web server. And they only use store cache on the device which doesn’t exceed the entire size of the PWA itself.
No need to download updates
When it comes to native applications; you update them, and re-upload them to the app stores to get reviewed and uploaded.
Your users will then go ahead and download the update.
With a progressive web app. You simply update it on your server and your users can automatically use it the next time they log on.
Sharing is easy with a PWA
When your users want to share a certain page/item in your application or the application itself. With a PWA, all they do is copy the link. And send it to whoever they are looking to send it to.
Whereas with a native application, they share the name of the application. And hopefully the user finds it on the app store, or share the link through the app store.
The bottom PWAs increase shareability compared to native apps.
Ability to function on every device and screen size
Progressive web applications responsive and accessed on devices with browsers that support them.
Whereas native applications have to be built specifically for that device, although there has been a huge development in cross platform mobile app development.
Great for search engine optimisation
Unlike native applications that are not indexed by Google, progressive web applications are pages that can show up in search engine results.
Therefore, you are able to receive an increased amount of traffic to your progressive web application.
In summary, it’s not a conversation of progressive web applications being better than native mobile applications, or vice versa.
Both of them have their best use cases where they are the best solution for your company. Fortunately, we do build both platforms, and we can freely give you advice on which is best for your situation.
Contact our team here to help you determine whether you need a progressive web app or a native mobile application.