The mobile app market is growing at an exorbitant rate and analysts predict the app store revenue will surpass $101 billion by 2020. The major driving force for such growth is the increasing affordability of mobile devices and the internet.
On the other hand is the Web which is already a very huge market and with Google taking load times and responsiveness of web pages into consideration while ranking them, it has become even more important for companies to make their web offering mobile-ready. This is where Progressive Web Apps (or PWA's) is making life easier for developers and companies as well.
For people, who are not aware of the benefits that PWA's offer, they are faster to load pages, work offline (with cached data), have the ability to send push notifications as in native apps, can be added as an app on the users device and also increases chances for conversion given the native app like responsiveness without the need of installing the app.
Let's look at the benefits of Progressive Web Apps in more detail.
In the current scenario, if a user has to use an app, they will first need to install the app and then use it. PWA's can remove this one extra step from the user's conversion journey, not to mention the higher acquisition costs associated with App Installs.
Mobile-ready pages which feel snappier just like native apps or even better at times can definitely boost the user experience which may make them spend more time on the app thus possible high conversion rate.
PWA's bring the best of the features from native mobile apps to web. One such feature is to send Push Notifications to your user's. PWA's allows you to send push notifications to your user which enables you as a business to update them about new products, orders or just to re-engage them to the app with new content that you published.
One major downside of web apps is the time they take to load and their inability to work in a respectable manner when offline. PWA's solve both of these issues very efficiently with the Cache API and use of Service Workers. PWA's can cache all of the UI elements and data fetched from API's in the background which enables for faster loading times. This also enables PWA's to work offline because of the all the data that is already cached. In many cases, PWA's can also allow the user's to keep saving their progress on the local device and later syncing to the server when the device comes online.
PWA's being similar to web apps generally take less time and resources for development, making them a viable alternative to native apps for general use-cases like e-commerce apps. Reduced time and effort allow companies to roll out quick releases to the market.
Google Chrome has already rolled out full support for PWA's. Other browsers which support PWA's include Opera, Firefox, Brave and Edge on Android. You would be thinking what about iOS, no doubt iOS is a major player when it comes to mobile and for PWA's to be successful across platforms, it needs to work on iOS devices as well. The good news is that Apple is slowly getting into the mix as they have launched the support for Service Workers and App Manifest which are core components for any PWA. Though the support is still in its infancy and not all features are supported like you cannot send push Notifications as of now on iOS but we are hopeful that more features will be rolled out sooner.
As a conclusion, we can see the benefits PWA's have to offer over normal web apps and also over native mobile apps in terms of lower development and maintenance costs. PWA's also solve the big problem of app market saturation letting the businesses reach their customers with a single app. With a lot of bigger companies including the likes of Google, Snapdeal, Flipkart among others investing into PWA's, we are sure to see it growing exponentially over the coming years.
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