Digital technology has taken the world by storm. The labyrinth nature of the Internet has engulfed us with a blanket of convenience, making the world a much smaller place to live in. From booking a cab to ordering pizza, we have been spoilt for choice with the number of apps available in the market. Ever since the concept of applications was invented, these tiny widgets have evolved from the phone and tabs to laptops and even smart TVs.
In the past few years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of apps; however, the number of active app users have remained stagnant. According to a study, the average mobile app retention rate is just 20% after 90 days. Even if they have stayed on and not deleted the app, on an average, more than 75% of users fail to return the day after first use. These figures make us wonder – are mobile apps close to extinction?
While some of the essentials apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook will remain an active app on the phone, the rest of them will predominantly disappear. So, what is the future?
Progressive Web Apps – The future of apps
The newest trend observed on the Internet is the emergence of websites with app-like behaviour in a browser. A shortcut to these websites can then directly be added to your device home screen based on how frequently you visit them. The progressive functions of these app-like websites have coined the term Progressive Web Apps, which is the next big thing in the effervescent digital world.
Features of Progressive Web Apps
- A Progressive Web App integrates the experience of an app in a website, providing you with the best of both worlds.
- They look like normal websites that can be accessed from your browser. Based on your usage, the website will prompt you to add it as an icon on your home screen for direct access. With a direct shortcut, you can skip the process of visiting the website from your browser every time you log in.
- These websites are typically displayed in full-screen without a website frame, giving the user an app-like experience.
- With the progressive usage of these websites, you can experience full-fledged app behaviour by granting permissions to access your device camera and contacts, as per the functions of the page.
- A PWA requires minimal page refreshes as it works like an app and not a conventional web page.
Advantages of PWAs
- A Progressive Web App eliminates the need to search for the native app in an app store and download it, consuming mobile data and time.
- It will send you notifications over time only after repeated usage, living up to its progressive nature.
- It loads very quickly, even in places of low connectivity, due to its exquisite application shell model.
- Contrary to native apps, it does not take up as much space on the phone. It just provides you with a shortcut to the website which will behave like an app.
- It does not hamper your privacy settings or permissions. Even if it does, it will be over a span of time, based on your usage.
- The PWA does not need to be customized for iOS and Android platforms.
- It caters to feature-phones and entry-level smartphones that do not have enough space for multiple apps.
- While digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and 3 cities, 4G connectivity is still an alien concept. PWA is the perfect alternative to an app in Tier 2 and Tier 3.
- It also caters to the generation who are new to the Internet world for whom downloading an app is a tedious process.
How can PWAs benefit brands?
Apart from the plethora of advantages an app user faces, a progressive web app can widely benefit any brand or organization. Gone are the days when websites were merely developed for desktop usage and apps for mobile phones. Considering the fact that most of the organic traffic comes through mobile, it is now mandatory for organisations to take their digital game up a notch to cater to their target audiences. A PWA fills in the gap between an app and a website and is the perfect solution for increased sales or leads.
Furthermore, the cutting-edge application shell architecture used in progressive web apps makes it ideal for e-commerce websites. It eradicates the need to download the app and provides the user with the added benefits of higher page loading speed and enhanced performance in places of limited connectivity.
A lot of leading organisations have already incorporated the concept of Progressive Web Apps in their digital space. Flipkart and Ola are few of the early adopters of this technology. So, its time for mobile apps to move on and welcome PWAs.