Why progressive web apps are the future

There has been a lot of talk regarding progressive web apps or PWAs in recent months, with Google claiming that by 2020 progressive web apps will have replaced 50% of mobile apps. Designed to offer the same user-experience as native apps, PWAs have been around for over two years now. However, their response has been rather underwhelming. With few big players adopting the technology, PWAs have largely been relegated to an afterthought. Currently, Chrome and Mozilla have adopted the technology while Apple is still skeptical about the whole thing. However, there is something about PWAs that makes them so revolutionary and innovative.

According to studies, users spend 80% of their time on a total of 3 apps. Additionally, on average a user will download one application per month and access 100 websites in the same period. Therefore, while web apps are undoubtedly slow and do not offer the same interactive user experience as native apps, their ease of accessibility gives them an edge. It is this edge that PWAs are designed to exploit. In essence, PWAs come with all the interactive features that are synonymous with native apps. However, unlike native apps, there is no need for users to download as they can be accessed via a URL.

With Google estimating that 5 billion devices are able to access the web worldwide, the claim that PWAs could replace native apps could hold some water. The flexibility of these apps gives them an edge over native apps. A number of companies have already jumped onto the progressive web app bandwagon. AliExpress is one of the companies that has adopted a PWA. The e-commerce platform recorded a 104% increase in conversion rates with its new cross-browser progressive web app. In addition, the company recorded a 74% increase in the number of time users spend per session on all browsers.

Germany based Trivago recorded a 97% increase in hotel click outs on the company’s new progressive web app. On its part, taxi-hailing giant Uber has developed a progressive web app that loads fast even on 2G networks. Other companies that have adopted PWAs include Petlove, Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort, and West Elm. In its Black Friday sale, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort recorded a 53% increase in conversion rate from its PWA. Based on all these statistics it is fair to say that PWAs are the future and could very well replace native apps. However, native apps still have a market to cater to.