Progressive Web Apps vs. Native Apps: The Business Side

Technical discussions between companies and agencies on whether to build Native Apps or Progressive Web Apps are endless. We wanted to step aside from the technical arena and step into the business aspects; the implications, limitations and benefits of choosing to develop one or the other. For that we’ve gathered 3 key questions that always arise from business stakeholders in several discovery sessions with our clients.

Progressive Web Apps and Native Apps

If I build a PWA can I publish it in the Apple App Store / Google Play Store?

This is probably the one we get the most. Short answer: YES.
For some reason, probably a legitimate one, marketing teams like the idea of a brand presence (a logo, an icon) in their customers’ mobile devices. What they don’t realize is that the whole idea of building a PWA is to bypass an app store in order to install it.
So let’s translate this question into what it really is: when the business is asking you about app stores, they are talking about distribution. They are talking about user acquisition. They are talking about user base tracking and how users will find the app on their devices. They are talking about leveraging the store’s business model to sell their digital product. It’s not about the technology behind building and developing the app.

What are the advantages of developing a PWA over a Native App?

Taking into account that YES, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR APP IN YOUR CUSTOMERS’ MOBILE DEVICES’ HOME SCREEN – why should you choose to develop a Progressive Web App instead of 2 (or more) Native Apps? Well, the first advantage lies on the very same question. A single source of information is better than multiple sources of information. This entails several advantages for PWA’s (the use of a single codebase, the ability to carry out silent updates instead of asking users to do it on their own time and at their own will and easy deployment to the cloud directly to your virtual servers).

So, now that we have established that we can have PWA benefits and upload it to an App Store, why should I combine both?

The main advantage we see is avoiding to go through QA approvals. Different App Stores will require QA checks in order to release new updates. Native apps require users to take the time update to the latest version (cold updates). Progressive Web Apps, once installed in the user’s mobile device, will always have the latest deployed version in LIVE stage. Also, since PWA’s are way smaller in size (Native Apps are almost 10x larger than Progressive Web Apps), you can have an almost immediate installation of your app in the user’s home screen.


Final Thoughts and Key Takeaways

In summary, as tech people, we need to interpret the business needs. That includes decoding what it means for the business to have one Progressive Web App or multiple Native Apps. The cost of development and maintenance. The cost to upload it to the different App Stores. The incidence in revenue that App Stores have in direct paid downloads or in-app purchases. The rationale of maintaining multiple native applications vs. one single code. The cost of having dedicated teams – whether it’s in house or outsourced. The cost of publishing, etc.

Get in touch with us for any questions or concerns regarding your current or future app development and maintenance!