Up until a year ago it may have seemed impossible that something could replace the almighty native mobile app. However, it’s now becoming pretty clear that Progressive Web Apps are on the rise and native apps are on the way out.

According to research carried out by Hubspot, in answer to the question “How many travel apps do you currently have installed on your smartphone” approximately 40% of users answered that none, and 25%, that one. As a result, 65% of users don’t use any application or use only one. Since not many users download travel applications, this may be a signal that it is the time to look at new options.

Progressive web apps can be used on sites operating locally like Barcelona, which is a map of popular attractions.  Or brands like Uber, Expedia, and Macy’s all pushing to provide a more consistent experience without the time and size commitment of apps.   There is no market in which PWA’s can provide real value and better user experience.

In its simplest sense, a progressive web app is a mobile app delivered through the web. It functions like a native app, due to the use of an app shell that allows for app-style gestures and navigations. The main difference is that there is no need to download it from an app store. It runs, self-contained, right in a web browser. A progressive web app is able to load instantly, even in areas of low connectivity and provides all the functions from push notifications to the integration with the user’s device without any download or weight like a native app.  

Why embrace PWAs?

PWAs are easy to find and distribute: PWAs are readily accessible and can be found via organic and paid search, or links on social media. Users can open them in their browser before deciding whether to install – important because 86 percent of the time on mobile is spent on apps.

PWAs deliver a fast user experience: with research revealing over half of the consumers leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, a PWA can be launched from a home screen and can be ready in less than a second, often beating native apps in load times.

Better connectivity: PWAs work in areas of poor connectivity, or when connectivity comes and goes, such as on the move on a train or in the car due to pre-cached content being made available. In areas of intermittent connectivity, those using a native app will likely get a ‘You’re offline’ screen.

No need to send updates: with native apps updates often have to be manually accepted and updated by the consumer. PWAs benefit from instant updates, no manual update is required, or App or Play Store approval.

No space issues: once downloaded, native apps can take up a lot of space on phones. PWAs take significantly less. Also, a PWA is linkable, which means it can be opened using a URL and shared on social media, by email, text message, and online ads, for example.

PWAs are device agnostic and work across all mobile platforms: because PWAs are hosted online they work across all devices and systems, whether iOS or Android. Deliver the same stand out customer experience on whatever mobile device consumers are on, saving them time and money in designing apps for different devices and systems.

The technology is available: many browsers such as Chrome and Opera support PWAs. Also, Magento launched a PWA Studio in April to help retailers develop PWAs.

PWAs are the future of mobile retail

Brands like Twitter, Uber, Starbucks, and Alibaba have all embraced this next generation of app.   Many like Alibaba have seen 76 percent increase in conversions across browsers and a 30 percent increase in monthly active user rates on Android with a 14 percent increase on iOS.

PWAs are straightforward to create using existing web technologies and deliver a faster and better experience for users on mobile, driving engagement and conversion rates. They are also much easier to deliver reach from and maintain than traditional apps.

But here is even better news they are cheaper to build and maintain than native apps,  analytics are easier to get and more consistent. If you would like to more information or want to see how you can convert your existing app to PWA for less than $5,000 in most cases contact us today.