What pops into your mind when you hear the term “Progressive Web App”? Why do businesses need PWA when they have native apps? So, if you ever struggled distinguishing progressive web app vs native app, this blog post can help you have a clear insight.
What Is A Progressive Web App?
A progressive web application is a web-based software app that works on browsers. This means that it can operate on any platform, regardless of the operating system.
PWA apps are different from regular apps in a few key ways. For example, they don’t have to be installed on a user’s device as regular apps do. They also work well in mobile and desktop environments, and they can be accessed from any device or browser.
Overall, progressive web applications are an exciting development for the web ecosystem because they offer a better experience for users across all platforms.
What Is A Native App?
Native apps have been around for a while, and they are clearly still one of the most important factors when it comes to smartphone usability. They provide an exciting user experience because they are specifically designed for each individual operating system.
In fact, both iOS and Android enjoy high adoption rates due to the many benefits that native apps offer. First and foremost, native apps typically take advantage of the capabilities that each operating system offers. This means you get access to features such as powerful multitasking, efficient resource usage, fast performance, and more.
Furthermore, app stores usually host only certified native apps which guarantee quality control and ensures compatibility with devices running on different versions of iOS or Android (for example iPhone 5s running iOS 10 versus an Android phone running Marshmallow). This makes it easier for users to find what they’re looking for without having to worry about potential complications later on down the road.
Progressive Web App Vs Native App: Detailed Comparison
|Installation||Easy & fast with “Add to home screen”||Time-consuming|
(App stores => search => install => confirm)
|An icon on the home screen||Yes||Yes|
|Splash page (welcome page)||Yes (no splash page on iOS)||Yes|
|Support||Multiple operating systems, browsers & devices (limited features on iOS)=> Single codebase||1 app serves 1 operating system|
|Features||App-like features |
No complex features (no access to calendars, contacts, browser bookmarks, and alarms, can’t intercept SMS or calls, can’t access Bluetooth, …). Push notifications are not available on iOS
|Update (users)||Refresh the pages||App stores => Update => Reinstall|
|Update (owners)||Update code and release||Update code (for each operating system) => submit to app stores => wait for approvals => release|
|Development Cost||Starting from $500 (depending on the selected solution)||Starting from $10,000 for a single app|
|Development Time||Several weeks to months||At least 4-6 months/app |
(for 1 operating system)
|Maintenance Cost||For 1 app only||Expensive|
|Other costs||No||Submission to app stores: |
$25 at Google Play Store (one-time fee)
$99/year at Apple App Store
Progressive Web App Vs Native App From Developer’s Angle
Development & maintenance and other costs
- Development cost
Native apps are expensive to develop since an app needs separate versions for different platforms. Normally, the cost of developing a native app starts from $10,000.
PWAs, on the other hand, are simpler and less expensive to create. This is because PWA can work smoothly regardless of the platform. The PWA development cost starts from only $3,000 and depends on your selected solutions.
- Maintenance & other costs
The expense of maintenance for PWA is much lower than for a native app. In detail, businesses need to spend around $70-$320 per month for a server, $25 for Google Play, and $99 per year for Apple App Store.
In the meantime, users only need to spend a little budget for a PWA. The server cost for a PWA lies between $20-$60. You only need to pay more in case of updating features.
When it comes to the native app, developers have to develop an independent version for each platform such as Android or IOS. They also have to manually submit their apps to a variety of app stores and resubmit them if there is a new update.
Besides, native apps must meet numerous complicated requirements to be published. Developers also need to pay to register their accounts.
By contrast, PWAs bypass almost all the above obstacles. This is because an URL and a web browser are all users need when start using PWAs. Famous browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are currently supporting a lot of PWA features, allowing your apps to approach a large number of audiences within a short period.
In addition, updates for PWA are far easier to set up. You can deploy your configuration whenever you want without having to wait for permission from app stores. Additionally, PWA configurations can be customized depending on the device or browser that is being used. This means that you can create separate experiences for different devices or browsers, which makes it easy to test different versions of your app with minimal effort.
However, native apps still retain an edge over PWA as listing on prominent app stores will prove authority and credibility. This will boost users’ confidence when gaining access to your apps and consequently drive your sales up.
It can be frustrating for developers to know that their native app pages will never show up in search engine results. This is because search engines cannot index these pages the same way they do web pages.
App stores are the only way for developers to have their apps reach potential users, and ASO (App Store Optimization) is a process that consumes your time and extra cost to get them to rank top on the search results page.
The benefits of ranking well in search engine results include higher conversion rates, more downloads, and more revenue overall. However, it’s important to remember that there is no guarantee you’ll achieve this goal – even with expensive marketing campaigns. So make sure you’re planning everything correctly before investing too much money into ASO efforts.
Because PWA is still a website, its content can be indexed and found by search engines like Google. When compared to a native app, this offers up the potential for SEO strategies, allowing PWA to reach more audiences. In short, PWAs are valuable for SEO while native apps can’t help.
HTTPS protocols play an essential role in the security of PWAs. Without HTTPS, cybercrimes that attempt to intercept user data or inject malicious content into a PWA can succeed. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to breach users’ privacy and steal their personal information, so it is important for PWA developers to protect their applications from such attacks.
By using HTTPS whenever possible, you ensure that your application remains secure from both external and internal threats. External threats come from hackers who want access to your app’s confidential information or stolen data. Internal threats arise when rogue employees try to sabotage your business by tampering with your online transactions or accessing unauthorized profiles. By using HTTPS, you can prevent these types of attacks from happening in the first place.
When it comes to native apps, users tend to place their trust in a native app because it must overcome all security obstacles from the app stores to be listed. This level of security ensures that your users will have a positive experience when using your app, regardless of whether or not they know about PWAs.
Natives typically come with more features and options than PWAs do. For example, you can generally host your own server for storing user data (rather than relying on Google’s servers), which gives you greater control over how that data is stored and protected. And since most native apps are built using frameworks such as React or AngularJS, you also get access to all the great development tools and resources available for those platforms.
Progressive Web App Vs Native App From User’s Angle
Download & Installation
The installation process of native requires users to go through a number of steps to complete. They have to manually find and download the app from the app stores. Numerous notifications asking for permission may make the process become more complicated and even time-consuming.
On the other hand, PWAs can be installed without app stores. When surfing websites, users can add PWA to their home screen with a few clicks. Moreover, PWAs are much smaller in size compared to native apps. This allows PWAs to display the newest version on launching without taking time to update.
PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) are a great way to deliver a fast and smooth experience similar to the majority of native apps without sacrificing app-like performance. PWAs can be used for applications that need high performance, such as games or rich media applications. They also make it easy for users to access your content from any device, regardless of their mobile operating system or browser.
The underlying technology of a PWA is service worker – scripts operating in the background and isolated from the site. It enables PWAs to perform offline requests, cache, and sync with a distant server. This technology has many benefits for users: they can load the app on the spot and use it offline. Service workers are an essential part of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). They enable PWAs to do things that standard websites cannot, such as performing offline requests, caching, and syncing with a distant server.
Based on native code, native apps can gain access to the hardware of your devices. This allows native apps to be more powerful as they can perform more complicated tasks and bring a seamless experience to users. Conversely, there may be latency when using PWAs as they are based on a browser.
Native apps offer more features than PWAs. For example, they can send messages, make calls, and access device sensors; all of which are almost absent from PWAs. Additionally, native apps can be combined with other apps to create even more powerful tools. This is something that PWAs cannot do because they’re built specifically for web-based applications.
Although both PWAs and native apps have push notifications, this function on PWAs differs across platforms. Particularly, IOS does not allow PWAs to send notifications at this time.
Progressive Web App vs Native App: What Is The Optimal Option For Your Business?
Based on the advantages and disadvantages mentioned above, it is clear that progressive web apps and native apps serve different business purposes. Store owners should be consistent with their goals and take their resources into consideration when deciding which is the best fit for their online business.
Choose PWA if:
- You want to integrate a simple but useful add-on to your site to improve the user experience: PWAs enable you to engage with users through push notifications while do not require download.
- You have limited time and financial resources: PWA is a suitable option as it takes only several weeks to months to develop to build. The development cost is also affordable for small and medium businesses, ranging from 500$ and depending on the selected solution.
- You want to attract users’ attention and boost traffic to your website: Besides improving user experience on mobile devices, PWA can be indexed by search engines and appear on search engine results pages as normal websites. Combined with proper SEO practice, this will help you to raise your brand awareness as well as increase your sales.
Choose Native App if:
- You want to grow your business reputation: Listing apps on famous app stores results in an improvement in credibility. A native app is also reliable as it has a wide range of security solutions.
- Your product has great demand for physical hardware to perform complicated tasks and functions: native apps can leverage the hardware and advanced features of mobile devices to bring a seamless experience and offer many more functionalities.
Progressive Web App vs Native App: What Will Lead The Trend In 2022?
High demand for mobile user experience
The need for a better mobile user experience will skyrocket in the next years as people spend more and more of their waking hours on websites and applications.
For businesses that want to enhance their branding and focus on delivering the best user experience, then of course a native app is still a more suitable option.
More optimized marketing solutions
Marketing is essential, but instead of throwing money out of the window, businesses are finding better ways to optimize their effort. For this case, PWA is the perfect solution.
It’s cheaper to develop and maintain, is able to deliver an app-like experience, and offers more methods for marketing. For businesses with a limited budget, it might be a better choice than native apps.
Real-life examples with PWA
Many businesses are moving away from traditional applications and towards web-based experiences. Why? There are a number of reasons, but one big advantage is that PWA can be more responsive and agile. This means that your users will experience a faster, smoother, and more reliable experience than with native apps. Here are some real-life examples to illustrate this point:
Coca-Cola made the switch to a PWA in 2016 after seeing significant improvements in user satisfaction ratings and engagement across all channels. The company saw an increase of 88% on average in click-through rates (CTRs), compared to when they were using native apps.
Volkswagen launched its first PWA in 2018 – eVOWatch – which allowed customers to monitor their vehicle’s performance, schedule maintenance appointments, book car reservations, order new parts online, etc… Within three months of launch it had already been downloaded over 1 million times!
PayPal Holdings Inc.’s move from a majority native app platform to PWAs led to increased speed (apps took 2 seconds on average for a startup instead of 10 seconds), decreased load time (app loads now take less than 700 milliseconds), improved security as data was isolated within individual pages rather than being housed centrally within the whole system, and reduced costs associated with maintaining multiple platforms. In total, these changes resulted in $300 million saved each year by 2020.
PWA is going to enter an explosive growth
As you can see, there are many successful outcomes that giant companies gained when applying PWA or switching from using native apps to PWA.
Without a doubt, smaller businesses will follow these giant companies to apply this top-notch technology. Therefore, PWA is going to dominate in near future.
The Best PWA Development Provider?
Now you have covered the last step to distinguishing progressive web app vs native app. One more thing is to find the best provider of PWA development. If you need a name for a reliable PWA development provider, then Tigren is your answer.
At Tigren, we offer a ready-to-use Progressive Web App template that is time-saving, budget-friendly, and suitable for any business. Besides, we also provide a custom PWA development service to meet unique needs.
With over 6 years of experience, in all of our projects at TigrenPWA, we place high importance on the quality of our solutions and customer satisfaction.
Progressive Web App vs Native App FAQs
1. Can PWA replace native apps?
PWAs can be an alternative for native apps to a certain extent as they can bring users a fast and smooth experience similar to the majority of native apps and have app-like performance. On the other hand, native apps still have an edge over PWAs with their high compatibility with mobile device hardware and sensors.
2. What are the disadvantages of PWA?
- PWAs can not gain access to a number of features on mobile devices such as NFC, Bluetooth, and camera, …This refrains PWAs from performing numerous necessary functionalities and makes it harder to engage with users.
- PWAs are based on advanced programming languages that demand CPU power to process. This results in more battery usage.
3. Is PWA the future?
The answer is Yes, PWAs will certainly have a bright scenario. This is because citizens spend more and more time on their mobile devices on a daily basis. With their unique built-in features, PWAs help enhance user experience on mobile devices and accelerate engagement rates with more marketing methods.
Catching up with the trend is of importance if you don’t want your business to be out of the game. When comparing progressive web app vs native app, businesses should be aware of their conditions to choose the best option. With many outstanding features, without a doubt, PWA is going to dominate in the year 2022.