Is A Progressive Web App Right for Your Brand?

…And Will You Need To Hire A Web Development Company?

It’s no wonder your company wants to see if a progressive mobile app (PWA) fits its goals. According to data culled from Google’s PWA case studies, progressive web apps increase mobile traffic by almost 70%, drop bounce rates by more than 42%, and importantly, increase conversions an average of 52%! Those are strong motivators.
PWAs may not be right for everyone, however. So, it’s a good idea to understand your options before shelling out a lot of money for something that might not work for you. For many brands investing in a PWA will not only help grow your business, it won’t cost you a ton of money, either.
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progressive web app, PWA, built by Dev Shop

What Is a Progressive Web App?

The technical definition of what it takes to be a PWA remains a bit nebulous. At a high level, a PWA looks and feels like a native app. They’re accessible from the web, can be saved on a mobile device, and they offer some offline services, like push notifications.

PWAs are essentially webpages, using common web protocols and coding languages, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But they’re more than just a webpage:

  • They follow progressive enhancement web design principles and work for every user regardless of browser preference,
  • They use “Service Workers,” a type of JavaScript that runs independently from the main browser that can send, receive, and cache resources, facilitating offline usage,
  • They feel like a native app, using familiar app-style interaction and navigation,
  • They can be saved to a home screen without using the Apple Store or Google Play,
  • And they can work offline, which means in many cases they can replace a native app.


Benefits of a Progressive Web App


Brands love progressive web apps, and there’s a simple reason for their growing popularity–they’re relatively inexpensive to build. Often, the cost of creating a PWA can be rolled up with the cost of your overall web development expenditures. And in most cases, you’ll spend considerably less building a PWA than a native app. There are a few factors, however, that affect the final cost, like the complexity of the design, how long it takes to create the layout and the required number of features.


Because PWAs can cache and store data on a mobile device, they offer up content more efficiently than a web page. Also, they use 25 times less storage space and are 15 times faster to load and install than a native app.

Universally Available

PWAs don’t care what browser you use; they look and feel the same across platforms. Instead of developing apps for multiple mobile platforms, a PWA only needs to be developed once. You publish a PWA like a normal webpage, and users find it through a normal web search.

Limitations of a Progressive Web App

Limited Access to Hardware

Native apps give developers the flexibility to interact with the device hardware. On the other hand, PWAs have limited access to hardware features, like the NFC chip, SMS, and contacts, to name a few. For some brands, these limitations can be a deal-breaker.

Browser Support

Even though PWAs work on any browser, not all browser support is equal. For instance, Chrome offers broad support for these apps, while Apple’s Safari does not.


As noted above, PWAs offer some real performance advantages over native apps for some metrics. At the same time, they also perform poorly for other metrics. PWAs mostly suffer from performance issues caused by the fact that JavaScript is a single-threaded programming language. That means these apps can only do one thing at a time.

On the other hand, multi-threaded native apps can perform many activities behind the scenes while you’re engaging with it. For many progressive web apps, this limitation is unnoticeable. You should be aware of it, however, because the last thing you want is to create an app that disappoints your customers.

How to Get the Most From Your Mobile App Development

Many brands love progressive web apps because they provide a cost-effective way to develop a mobile app. But a lot goes into making a mobile app, and deciding what kind of app you need might feel overwhelming. There’s a lot of technical decisions that go into making any mobile app. And if you don’t thoroughly understand the pros and cons of these choices, you may end up making an expensive mistake.

Make sure you get the most bang for your web development buck by partnering with a full-service custom software and web development company. Our web developers at StudioLabs are experts in mobile app development. With more than 16 years of experience successfully designing and building web apps and mobile apps, we can help guide you through the maze of choices to find the best solution for your brand. Please feel free to check out our past work. And, if you’re ready to start building the perfect mobile app for your brand, we should talk!