According to a study, by 2025, nearly three-quarters of the world’s population will access the internet solely through smartphones. In a world driven by the internet, if your business isn’t online, it is as good as non-existent. Most of your customers spend their time online, and that’s your battlefield. Businesses today are competing with each other for their customers’ attention spans. So, how is your online presence benefiting you in this aspect? Does your website get you enough traffic to convert leads into customers? Is your app meeting the download target you’ve set for this month? If yes, then you are on the right path. But if your app or website isn’t performing as per your expectations, it is time to do some assessments.
It’s been a long time since the advent of the internet. In the last few decades, customer behavior has changed drastically as new and improved technology has set new benchmarks. For instance, native apps were the talk of the town a few years back. Now that progressive web app development is taking the world by storm, the charm of native apps has dimmed. But if we compare native apps vs. progressive web apps, both have their share of merits and demerits.
But that does not mean that progressive web apps are the future of app development or that native apps are a talk of the past. Both are better performers in some aspects or the other. In this blog, we will be taking you through a detailed comparison between Progressive Web Apps Vs. Native Apps. This comparison will help you decide whether you should focus on PWA or native apps to help your business grow.
What Is a Native App?
Native apps are programs that are designed specifically for a given operating system (OS), piece of software, or hardware.
Most likely, a native app is what comes to mind when you think of an app. Those are the apps that you have been downloading ever since the smartphone was first released. The developer can use the special features of a certain piece of software while creating a native app with that software in mind. Also, it enables the software to run smoothly on a specific operating system (OS).
Though the popularity and demand of native apps have seen a downward slope in the last few years, the market for these is still going strong. According to a report, in 2023, revenue from mobile apps is projected to reach over $935 billion.
What Is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are programs that can be used within a user’s browser rather than being downloaded directly to their device.
They are created as a website but have a mobile app-like look. PWAs take up a lot less space on a user’s device than native apps do. Google describes this app category as “reliable, fast, and engaging” and offers developers a checklist to help them transform a “baseline PWA” into an “exemplary PWA” that is fully optimized.
According to studies, the market for progressive web applications is projected to develop at an amazing rate of more than 30% per year, reaching a value of $10.77 billion by 2027. Moreover, PWA desktop installations have increased by 270% since the beginning of 2021, according to Google.
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PWA Vs Native App: Which One Is Better?
When it comes to choosing between PWA vs. native apps, there is no option better than the other, as each developer’s scenario changes, and with that, their preferences too. Some features run exceptionally well in one and some in the other. So, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the native app vs. PWA to decide which is the most compatible for your business model.
Pros and Cons of Using Native Apps
Native apps introduce simplicity in all phases of development and deployment. This is one of the reasons why many businesses are inclined towards using native apps. Other benefits are as follows:
- Easy Integration: Native apps communicate seamlessly with each other on iOS and Android. For instance, this ability makes it easier for Instagram or any other social media platform to connect with your app users.
- Aided Tools and Frameworks: When creating native apps, you will work with the relevant OS and a wide range of developer-supported tools. On the other hand, PWA lacks the same options for streamlining development and the overall process.
- Monetary Benefit: It is easier to purchase anything for the users when your native apps integrate payment processing with their app store. But, you need to incorporate your payment system for monetizing a PWA.
- App Store Exposure: Both native apps and PWAs can be published in app stores. However, the publishing procedure for native apps is easier than PWAs.
- Safety: Deploying strong security measures like two-factor authentication is simpler in a native app than PWAs as they require their security certification, whereas the former already has access to essential device data.
- Power Consumption: Native apps are battery efficient as they are created in the native language of the hardware.
Though a native app has many benefits to offer, it is not perfect in all aspects. Some of the disadvantages of using a native app are mentioned below:
- Development Complexities: The development of native apps is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. It can take months or even years to get your product in the market when building it from scratch.
- Constant Upkeep: Native apps require high maintenance to ensure they are secure, devoid of any bugs, and user-friendly because of the OS and user needs that are constantly changing.
- Not Cross-Platform: If you want your app to be available for iOS and Android users, you need to develop the app in Java and Objective C, as native apps are not cross-platform. This may take longer and cost more money to launch.
Pros and Cons of Progressive Web Apps
PWA experiences are currently being provided to users by countless businesses because of the numerous benefits it offers. Some of them are mentioned below:
Again, let’s first take a look at the pros, and then we move to the cons.
- Price of Development: Developing a progressive web application is affordable, less time-consuming, and doesn’t add more to your workload. Also, it saves time and money that is spent on OS-specific features and updates.
- Online Visibility: Users can find PWAs more easily than native apps as they have more visibility because of the way they are built. They are made of web pages that mimic apps. This ability allows any app page’s URL to be easily shared by users, which increases the potential for engagement and organic development.
- User Experience: The users don’t need to get familiar with many interfaces as they get to experience identical UI in both their browser and app while using a PWA.
Progressive web apps are indeed many businesses’ first choice when it comes to app development. But it also has some demerits that are important to be considered. Some of the major cons are as follows:
- Constrained Offline Capacity: Native apps can even work when it is not connected to the internet. However, PWAs require uninterrupted internet connectivity as they depend on a web browser connection to function. A PWA is probably not the best option if your users value offline mode.
- Less Convenient: PWAs quickly deplete batteries and have limited usefulness on particular operating systems.
PWAs vs. Native Apps: Which One Is Better?
It is natural for anyone to feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding between native apps or progressive web apps. Here are some instances that will help you beat the dilemma between choosing a native app vs. PWA.
You can go with PWAs if:
- You want to offer your users a straightforward app experience as it requires no downloads and allows interactions through push notifications.
- You are under a strict budget as developing PWAs requires less time and money.
- You want to boost SEO and brand recognition as they work similarly to a website and can reach a wider audience.
You can choose native apps if:
- You want to establish your brand’s trust, as publishing apps on app stores adds to its credibility and enhances security.
- You wish to make use of cutting-edge smartphone features as native apps as they can be developed specifically for an OS and support a variety of tools and frameworks.
Just like how every business is different from the other, no two apps can be the same. Every app serves a different purpose and has different functionality. So, when it comes to deciding between native apps vs. PWA, you must assess the qualities each one excels in and how they align with the idea of your app, and how they will benefit your business on the digital front.