Progressive Web Application in 2021: A Story of Success and Challenges


Do you have a smartphone? As the global number of these devices exceeded 3.5 billion in 2020 with the forecast for the next year to reach 3.8, this is probably a rhetoric question. Gadgets of different kinds have become an inalienable part of everybody’s routine determining to a large extent our habits, views, and social mores. We like to have all our life encapsulated inside this magical box. Contacts, work, shopping, entertainment, travel – it seems that no aspect of the life of a modern human is left outside the ken of their smartphone.

 Savvy entrepreneurs have quickly realized possible prospects of large-scale “gadgetization” and turned the smartphone into a marketing tool. A whole world of e-commerce has stopped being exclusively a desktop venture and expanded its sway over mobile users giving a huge boost to the development of respective software. The latter is being constantly sophisticated and upgraded so classical native apps begin to experience a competitive pressure that has been growing exponentially with the advent of the PWA trend.

A Progressive Web App: Fortes That Make a Difference

Every stage in the history of communication means brings achievements that seem impossible to outmatch. However, within a short time, a new device is ushered to eclipse what once appeared to be an epitome of the high-tech frontier. Thus, we have witnessed the rise of wireless telephones and then pagers that were highlights of their time but were soon sent into oblivion by first cumbersome mobile phones, which in their turn gave way to thin and powerful smartphones.

 The story of mobile apps is to a degree a reflection of this never-slackening progress that is only quickening its pace in the new millennium. Native apps were the dawn of this software type and served as a rapport channel between customers and companies, each of whom saw their consumer or business concerns more than satisfied. Functioning in compliance with one of the two major operating systems, native apps provided both Android and iOS fans with secure user experience, low energy consumption, and smooth integration with cognate products. Companies appreciated an easy procedure for native apps' purchasing and publishing.

Yet, as technical progress begot native apps, it was the same evolution that exposed their deficiencies. The appearance of a plethora of gadgets whose screen size could vary significantly made it clear that native apps didn’t live up to the call of the times. Response to novel conditions came with the appearance of Progressive Web Apps. Even after a brief analysis PWA is seen to top native apps in many aspects.

All fortes a PWA has are determined by its nature – it is essentially a website, thus there is no need to install it. Being run through the browser enables their offline use so that they may be accessed even if the internet connection is poor. They provide a unified experience of utilizing the same user interface (UI) both for the app itself and the browser. PWAs weigh a little and are remarkably SEO-friendly. Finally – and most significantly – the type and display size of your gadget doesn't matter to them since they can be run on whatever device you have.

 As soon as businesses discovered their assets PWAs started to expand their audience finding ever more partisans in the fields where once native apps reigned supreme.

Desktop Progressive Web Apps

 PWA Reports: Achievements and Vistas to Conquer

Being introduced only five years ago, PWAs attracted the attention of many blue-chip companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that launched their Progressive Apps. Magento Commerce followed suit in 2018 introducing its PWA Studio and a year later Amazon did the same with a view to enabling multi-platform development and eliminating entry barriers.

The insight into the rapid growth of PWA global share offers one more reason why businesses opt for this app type: their development cost. The industry analysis conducted by AbsoluteMarketsInsights claims that creating a PWA is on average 70% cheaper than a native app. Only this argument is enough for calculating entrepreneurs to start leveraging PWAs in order to enhance their customer reach and boost revenues.

 For the companies that launched a PWA reporting their beneficial effects has become a regular practice. Pinterest and AliExpress registered a 40% and 74% increase in time spent by customers using their app. This caused a twofold growth of AliExpress pages visited per session and a boost conversion rates. Tinder reported a 60% decrease in load time (down to 1.7 seconds) – the fact that accounts for an exponential rise of user engagement (for Trivago this figure approached 150%). All these factors determined a surge in income – both from ads (Pinterest boasted of 44%) and in the mobile market in general (36% for Lancôme).

What factors can facilitate the success of PWAs? Generally speaking, there are three broad categories of apps in the market currently:

  • Apps of daily use (for instance, WhatsApp or Gmail);
  • Apps of occasional use. These are accessed several times a week to learn weather forecast, order food delivery, perform banking operations, etc.;
  • Apps of rare use (web stores, business subscriptions, and the like).

As the diverse reports show, apps of the second and third types can benefit most from going PWA. And if a PWA of the third type is launched it may bolster expenditure automation for its developers.

 According to research by TransparencyMarketResearch, within the next seven years, the market share of PWAs in North America is going to take 40% of the global one with Europe trailing not much behind. Evidently, for companies whose customers hail from these areas launching a PWA is practically a must.

 Alongside all the bright prospects that PWAs might promise to their owners, there are some challenges that hinder their triumphant advance in 2021.

Ignorance of Companies

As the experience of our team shows, many medium and small-size businesses are still not aware of the boons a PWA can bring. They tend to rely on conventional means of engaging customers. This is especially true of B2B companies that are traditionally wary of new technologies and are more oriented towards catering to the needs of existing customers than searching for growth levers. Such sluggishness will take some time to overcome when the success story of big-time players presents a pattern to follow.

The Reluctance of Major-League Actors

Having built powerful business empires that are reliant on their native apps, some IT leaders until recently have been averse to the introduction of any technologies that may question their dominance in the field. However, the winds of change are starting to be felt, with Android taking the novel development in its stride. Apple is not so eager to follow suit, yet in its 11.3 iOS released in 2018, it enabled some PWA functionalities. This breach in the wall of intransigence has been widened ever since, with new support granted to PWAs in every subsequent version. 

Inertia of Users

The first two reasons why the progress of progressive apps (the pun is intentional) isn’t that spectacular so far engender the third. Being quite satisfied with the status quo, companies don’t hurry to get their clients interested in novelties. Users are also comfortable with native apps and may even be afraid to replace them with new technology since the idea of accessing an app via a browser is still alien to many of them. Yet, with the gradual realization of PWAs’ assets and their adoption as marketing tools, businesses will start updating their clients on the advantages of this app type converting proselytes to their brand-new creed.

49 Examples of Progressive Web Apps

A Final Recap

Last year, Google Play Store directory featured close on 3 million apps the overwhelming majority of which are native. Yet, slowly but surely PWAs are gaining traction establishing themselves as a viable alternative to native apps. This growing trend is likely to expand, especially if companies realize that there is no need to abandon their conventional practice of relying upon a native app. PWAs may supplement the traditional means of engaging customers, forming an extensive app ecosystem. The latter will enhance smartphone performance and provide additional access to a wide audience of potential customers.


With the relentless attempts of IT specialists to adapt PWAs to native API and other existing web standards, the Progressive Web Apps market is going to expand. If your company wants to keep abreast with the latest technological advancements and not lag behind its competitors, launching a PWA in 2021 is a must. Multi-Programming Solutions with its seasoned team of experts is ready to develop an app of any kind for you that will satisfy both your requirements and expectations of your customers.

PWAJuly 10, 2020
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