PWA vs. Native Mobile Apps: Which One is better?

October 6, 2020

Reading time about 8 minutes

With the evolution of technologies, every organization is bringing swift changes in their business processes to help them deliver a better customer experience. More and more people are spending time on mobile devices to access online services in this digital world we live in. Today, we cannot imagine our lives without our smartphones! No customers have time for bad experiences and their demands are increasing more than ever over the years. Many businesses are relying on skilled professionals of leading Progressive Web App Development Company to provide a fast, easy, and seamless mobile experience. As the number of mobile devices increases, the trend of PWA (Progressive Web Apps) is gaining popularity. In this blog, we will learn about PWA and native mobile apps to help you choose one that works best for your business.

Progressive Web Apps with its Pros and Cons

PWA is one of the most trending technologies that have taken the app development world by storm. Known as the hybrid of a mobile website and a mobile app, they are mobile sites developed using modern JavaScript frameworks designed to engage users and give a native app-like experience. Some of you may wonder why your business should care about PWA even after having a website and mobile app for iOS and Android platforms. It is because PWA offers the best of both worlds enabling users to save the websites on the home screens of their mobile devices without downloading and installing apps from the Play Store.

mobile app development cost

Here are some of the best advantages of PWAs-

  • Faster Access

Using the device-level cache, the PWA app reduces the amount of data required to respond to user interaction. As the app’s data are saved locally, these apps give faster load time by displaying the cached content when the customer visits.

  • Push Notifications

One of the best things about the PWA app is that it helps brands use web push notifications that work similarly to native app notifications helping customers get a personalized experience. Gone are the days when push notifications were only meant for mobile apps because, with PWAs, most of the browser supports push notifications.

  • Offline Mode

PWAs work in offline mode enabling customers to browse the app content even if there is no availability of the internet. Built with strong caching functionality, these apps can handle offline requests and sends them once the internet connection resolves.

  • Add to Home Screen Feature

PWA apps can be installed directly through the website where users accept the prompt to add the app on the home screens of their devices. There is no need to visit app stores for downloading the app and PWA has the same accessibility and visibility as a native app.

  • More Updated

Many mobile-responsive websites are not functional due to outdated technologies used during the development process a long time ago. PWAs solve these issues with automatic updates without bothering customers with permission requests. This helps in delivering a smoother mobile experience using the advanced technologies that meet the evolving needs of the customers.

  • Budget-Friendly & Faster Development

We know that developing native apps requires certain technologies for both platforms – iOS and Android but in the case of PWAs; developers just need HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This makes it easy for developers to build and requires lesser development time which helps to reduce the cost of development hours.

Some of the disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps-

  • Limited Functionality

As PWAs are half web and half mobile apps, their functionality is limited as compared to a full-fledged native mobile app. The PWA does not have access to calendars, alarms, contacts, & also cannot intercept SMS or calls. Push notifications are only available to Android devices.

  • No Support by All Browsers

Another weakness of PWA is that not all web browsers support PWA and they are android-centric which means it doesn’t support Safari. If your business only has a PWA, you may lose some of the app audience using iOS devices.

  • No Access to Customer Data

As PWA doesn’t come with features that allow access to customer data like contacts or social networking profiles, the business owners using PWA won’t be able to trace their customer data.

Native Mobile Apps with its Pros and Cons

When we talk about native mobile apps, we know that these apps are developed to operate on a single platform i.e. either on iOS or Android. This means the app can use a wide range of functionalities that the device offers. On contrary to PWA, native apps need to be downloaded from an app store before using it. However, PWA may lack some features for iOS app users.

Pros of using Native Mobile Apps-

  • Better Performance

As native apps are built and optimized for a single platform, they offer a high level of performance. Additionally, these apps are installed on smartphones & can leverage the mobile device’s processing speed, making it load faster as data is already stored on the device.

  • Exceptional Customer Experience

Having a great customer experience is necessary for your app to be a successful one. As PWA lacks in some functionalities when it comes to iOS devices, Native apps solve these problems and ensure that all the native iOS apps comply with Apple’s Human Design Guidelines present on App Store.

  • Third-Party Integration

Native mobile apps can easily integrate with other apps like quick profile authorization via Google account or Facebook, shipping via FedEx, or any integration with an external service.

  • Easy Customizations

Native mobile apps offer immense opportunities in terms of the interface & user experience as business owners can customize their apps as per their requirements & make their apps stand out from the crowd adding extra features.

  • Geo-fencing Support

PWA doesn’t have access to core operating system features like geofencing while native mobile apps have this functionality that enables customers to get a push notification when they approach a location.

Some of the cons of native mobile apps-

  • Higher Development Cost

Native mobile apps are complex to build taking more effort from developers, which eventually adds the cost of development, unlike PWAs. Developing a native mobile app for each platform & maintaining them separately can be costly.

  • Extra efforts for Downloading App

Customers have to go to App stores for downloading the native mobile apps which is not required while using PWA. For customers looking for an app to avail instant online services like grocery buying or cab booking, it can be an extra step in their online shopping journey to search the app & download from app stores. This makes PWA more accessible.

Which One to Choose for Your Business- Native vs. PWA?

Whether your business is a start-up, small & medium enterprise, or a large-scale organization, every brand wants to deploy more advanced technologies while building apps to meet the evolving needs of the customers. PWA is a more preferred choice over native mobile apps if you are looking for a cost-effective solution that can serve customers. If you are looking for better performance & customized experience, native apps are the best option. Though native apps cost a little more to develop and are more time-consuming, these apps ensure more personalized experience providing comfort and satisfaction to customers. On the other hand, PWA enables business owners to save time & money as it can be deployed once and works for both platforms while native app requires a different development process for iOS and Android app.
Both native mobile app and PWA have their strengths & weaknesses. All you need to do is to figure out the functionalities and features that these two options offer and choose one that fits your app vision.

When PWA Works Best-

  • If your business is looking for a simple app that requires no download & enables your customers to interact with your brand through push notifications.
  • It is best when your business has budget and time constraints as PWA takes lesser time to develop as compared to native mobile apps.
  •  If you have more focus on improving brand awareness and SEO activities with a target to reach a larger customer base.

When Native App Works Best-

  • If you are thinking to build credibility for your brand, native apps are best as apps will be published on app stores increasing reliability & security.
  • It is best when you have the advanced smartphone features like geofencing & sensor/detection which is important for a great UX or your product needs good computing power.

Closing Statement

As we can see PWA is the perfect combination of both mobile and web apps, it comes with immense benefits that enable businesses to increase conversions, page visits, and undoubtedly increase the length of sessions. Apart from all the advantages discussed above, PWA can be a game-changer as it provides ease of development at lesser cost and can serve customers across all mobile devices, unlike native apps that require app installation. However, if you want to ensure a more personalized experience & better performance, native apps are the one! Whether you are planning to build a native app or PWA services for your business venture, hiring a top Mobile App Development Company is an ideal solution to help you get the best solution that fits your needs.