Last Updated: March 12, 2024

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Mrunali Gaikwad

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Are PWAs going to replace native apps?

Why are we discussing this today?

It’s 2024 and we have seen many popular mobile (native) apps emerging as users’ favorites, bringing fortunes to the brands. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, CashApp are just a few of them. 

However, there are others like Pinterest, Spotify, Netflix, and Starbucks who chose progressive web app development. Their success doesn’t need a separate mention. 

The mobile app revenue in 2027 is expected to be around $673 billion

At the same time, you must note that PWAs can bring about a 20% to 250% boost in overall engagement. Many brands even witnessed a significant growth in mobile traffic after implementing a progressive web app. We have discussed detailed statistics further in the blog.  

But this information raises an important question for companies like yours. Should you build a native app or go with a PWA instead? Which option is more reliable when you’re striving for success in terms of traffic, sales, and consistent growth? Why is this decision so complex? 

There are various factors at play in an app’s success. Digital solutions come with a set of pros and cons. When choosing between them, one must consider their focused services, target audience, budget, market size and trends, and need for scalability. All these aspects can vary from business to business. 

Therefore, in this blog, we’ll tell you the difference between PWAs and native apps, what’s going to rule over the industry this year and beyond, and how to choose the best option for your specific requirements.   

What is a Progressive Web App? 

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) use modern web technologies to provide a native app-like experience to users on their web browsers, regardless of the device or platform they are using.

PWAs can work offline, load quickly, and provide features such as push notifications, app-like user interfaces, and access to device hardware like cameras and GPS. You can install them on a device without going through an app store, making them easier to discover and use.

They are built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and can be developed using frameworks such as React, Angular, and Vue. They are supported by all major web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and can be hosted on any web server.  

According to Emergen Research, the global PWAs market is expected to reach $10.44 billion by 2027. This is an indicator that progressive web apps are going to be preferable among businesses. However, to understand how they’re different from native apps and whether you should build one, keep reading further. 

PWA vs Native Apps Whats the Better Choice

PWA vs Native App From Development Perspective 

As a mobile and web app development company, clients often ask our opinion on different types of apps and what would be the better choice. From the development perspective, here are a few major differences between native apps and progressive web apps. 

Ease and Time Of Development  

PWAs can run on web browsers. Developing them is much faster. They use web technologies that are familiar to developers, and they do not require the development of platform-specific code. As a result, developers can create a PWA in a shorter amount of time than it would take to develop a native app.

Native apps, as the name suggests, run on mobile devices and require platform-specific code, which can take a significant amount of time. Developers must create separate versions of their app for each platform, which turns out to be time-consuming. 

Cost Of Development 

The cost of developing a PWA is lower than that of a native app. Unlike native apps that require developers to specialize in various programming languages for different platforms, progressive web apps can be built using known web technologies. Additionally, native app development requires building a separate version for each platform (majorly iOS and Android). But that’s not the case with PWAs. 

Developing progressive web apps is often less complex than native apps since you have the option to configure existing websites. With the right tools in use, this saves a lot of time and resources, making PWAs a cost-efficient development alternative.

Reliable-development-solutions-at-an-affordable-price

Application Distribution 

While the different versions of native apps need to be submitted on specific app stores for various platforms, you can skip this hassle with PWAs. Although Apple’s App store and Google Play Store are quite popular, getting your app published here isn’t as easy as it seems. It’s important to follow several guidelines and meet their requirements to move ahead. 

Progressive Web Apps can skip the cumbersome process of getting approved by an app store. They only need a web browser and URL to run seamlessly. Thus you can reach out to a larger audience in a short time. There’s no need for approvals, and you can update your app easily in less time. 
Moreover, as per SimiCart, implementing PWA for mobile sites can lead to 14% to 630% increase in organic traffic.

Discoverability Of Applications

Native app pages cannot be indexed in search engines. The only way users can find a native app is through the app store. However, PWAs work like websites and can be indexed on search engine pages. 

Since progressive web apps offer better performance than other pages, the chances of them ranking higher are more. Although there are ways to boost visibility for your native apps, there’s a greater probability of a PWA appearing in the search results.

Security 

Progressive web app development offers better security than general web apps since it has to comply with HTTPS. Its security protocols ensure that any exchanges between the client and server are not tampered with. 

The personal details of customers also remain secure. However, as compared to PWAs, native apps have better and more security options like multi-factor authentication and secure, end-to-end encrypted communication methods.

PWA vs Native App From Users’ Perspective 

It’s important to meet your users’ requirements irrespective of the type of app you choose to build. Here are some key differences between progressive web apps and native apps from the users’ point of view. 

Ease of Access for Native Apps & PWAs 

Native apps require installation from an app store, whereas PWAs can be accessed directly from the web browser. Installing native apps requires a user to search for the app in an app store, download it, and then install it on their device. This can be time-consuming and may require a user to have an app store account.

PWAs, on the other hand, can be accessed directly from a web browser, without the need for installation. This makes PWAs more accessible and easier to use than native apps. The users don’t have to worry about apps consuming a lot of space on their devices. 

Many brands witnessed noticeable improvement in customer engagement after implementing a PWA:  

  • Lancôme recorded a 53% increase in mobile sessions 
  • Trivago witnessed 150% more repeated visits 
  • MakeMyTrip had a 160% increase in mobile sessions 

Source 

Progressive App vs Native App Performance 

PWAs load faster but native apps are more powerful. Thus native apps typically perform better than PWAs. Native apps are optimized for the platform they are developed on, which allows them to take full advantage of the device's capabilities. This means that native apps are typically faster and more responsive than PWAs.

PWAs, on the other hand, are designed to work on a variety of platforms and devices, which can lead to slower performance and reduced responsiveness.

Seamless apps

Features & Functionalities of Native Apps & PWAs 

No doubt, progressive web app development is evolving fast to meet up with native apps. However, PWAs might be a little limiting when it comes to offering many functionalities to the users. There are many functionalities and features that are only compatible with native apps like geofencing, push notifications, light detection, smart lock, proximity sensor, etc.

PWA vs Native App - What to Choose? 

Native apps and progressive web apps both have their share of advantages and limitations. Considering various aspects of your business and specific requirements will help you make a fair and wise choice. 

Go For Progressive Web App Development If: 

  • You’re in your beginning phases and want to offer a simple app to the users. 
  • There are budget constraints. PWAs are a lot more cost-efficient. 
  • Your major goal is to create brand awareness and reach a wider audience. 

Go For Native App Development If: 

  • You want to build credibility for your brand. Native apps offer better reliability and security options. 
  • You want to offer modern smartphone features. 

Conclusion  

The choice between PWA and Native apps development depends on the requirements of the project. PWAs are faster and less expensive to develop, while native apps provide a better user experience and are more discoverable. You must evaluate the requirements of the project and determine which option is the best fit. 

If you are looking for a reliable web app development company to help you with the best development solutions, we might be it. Not sure? Know us better. 

To get our services or in case of queries, fill up the contact form below and we’ll get back to you sooner than you expect!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

See the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions below.

Native apps are platform-specific and built using platform-specific languages and tools. Users need to download them from app stores and install them on their devices. On the other hand, Progressive web apps (PWAs) are built using web technologies. They can run on multiple platforms without the need for installation. Native apps are developed separately for each platform, while PWAs use a single codebase across different platforms. PWAs offer broader compatibility and easier maintenance, at the same time, native apps provide a more optimized and integrated experience specific to each platform.

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