December 13, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

50% of apps could be PWAs by 2020. Here’s why.


With more and more traffic being pushed to mobile, our digital media habits are still being dominated by the app revolution.

And although apps remain popular, according to research from Comscore, 51% of users don’t download any apps in a month. There’s plenty of dead weight in the app store, and building brand new apps for Android, iOS and the web are expensive and time-consuming.

These factors have given rise to a game-changer in mobile innovation: the PWA, or Progressive Web App.

What is a PWA?

A PWA (Progressive Web App) is, according to senior Google software engineer Alex Russell ‘a website that took all the right vitamins.’ They overcome the potential limitations of the web — performance, quality, and unavailable Internet connection — and provide smooth, app-like experiences for the mobile web.

The benefits of a PWA as well as adoption from companies such as Twitter and Forbes are key reasons why Gartner has projected that by 2020 “progressive web apps will have replaced 50% of general-purpose, consumer-facing mobile apps.”

In Gartner’s report, they claim that “The pace of app downloads is slowing down in most consumer markets around the globe, especially where mobile device adoption is mature.” This is due to “app fatigue,” in which users hit a ceiling when it comes to the number of apps they’re willing to install, and the effort required to install them in the first place.

Does this mean that PWAs will kill native apps? Not necessarily, as there are use cases for both. But now that we are a year away from Gartner’s prediction let’s take a look at what PWAs have to offer:

The benefits of a PWA

Engaging:
Comes with features such as push notifications to alert readers of breaking news or trending stories, and increases engagement with swiping and image galleries.

Installable:
Allows users to add the website to their mobile home screen for quick and easy access.

Lightweight and fast:
Although packed full of features, PWAs manage to stay extremely lightweight and are therefore effortless to access and use.

App-like :
Feels like an app to the user, with native app style interactions, speed, and navigations.

Responsive :
Work across every browser choice, for every user, and fit any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever’s next.

Connectivity independent :
Allow readers to download content for offline reading, and online content even works across low-quality networks.

Secure:
Served with HTTPS to provide SEO advantages, brand trust, and protection from security breaches.

Conclusion

PWAs are a potentially game-changing solution for both developers and users, and present the best of both the mobile web and native apps. However, many publishers have not jumped on this technology due to the development challenges of getting it just right, and producing engaging experiences for mobile readers.

Publishers and bloggers can see the benefits of a PWA with one WordPress plugin install. Our new plugin, MarfeelPress, gives you everything you need to start boosting engagement for your mobile website. Download the plugin here and try it for yourself.