Stats never lie! There are reports that companies that have launched their Progressive Web Applications (PWA) witness a significant amount of transformation in their business. Take, for instance, in 2016 The Washington Post released their PWA which was a combination of Google’s AMP and PWA technologies; this change had them achieve an 88% decrease in load time. On the other hand, Twitter rose to 75% more tweets, a 20% decrease in bounce rate, 65 per cent increase in pages per session once they shifted to Progressive Web Applications. Thomas Kent reduced their bounce rate by 57 per cent and saw an increase in the revenue by 79 per cent and organic traffic. In short, PWA has become the buzzword and they sure are living up to people’s expectations. In the articles, we begin by understanding what PWA are, user cases, pros and cons, and more.

What are progressive web applications?

Before we get into the formal definition of PWA, picture this. You are scrolling through a fine webpage that has managed to capture your attention. Soon a prompt msg pops up ‘Add to Home Screen’. You might be sceptical about permitting first, but wait till the magic happens. Once you give the permission, the PWA appears on your home screen. When you enter that, all the browser UI disappears, and you can use it as a seamless app. 

Coming to the actual definition of PWA – they aren’t your mundane or traditional application. It is a new software development methodology that is a beautiful confluence of hybrid regular web pages and a mobile application. PWA’s foundation relies heavily on modern APIs to deliver installability, capabilities, and reliabilities. It is built commonly by using web technologies including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WebAssembly. With a single codebase, it can reach anywhere, anyone, and on any device. What this process essentially does is it allows the user a frictionless experience to reach where they want. And as Alex Ruxwell, the expert who coined the term, rightly said: PWAs are just websites that took the right vitamins

What is a Service Worker?

In all fairness, the reason why the PWA processes are executed with ease is courtesy of the Service Worker. It, indeed, is the fundamental part of PWA. Service Worker, a type of web worker, is basically a script written in javascript, that ensures offline access, quick loading of the pages despite the network issues, push notifications, and other features. As per Web Fundamentals, this file runs separately from the main browser thread, intercepting network requests, caching or retrieving resources from the cache, and delivering push messages.

How can your business benefit from PWA?

Reports infer that, by implementing PWA businesses such as AliExpress, Flipkart, and most importantly Google, have seen an increase in their retention which has reached somewhere between 50-100 per cent. This is means businesses can gain a lot by incorporating PWAs. A study proves that, the world’s largest B2B platform, has increased conversions on the mobile web by 76% with PWA. Following are the reasons why businesses should consider PWA:

Seamless implementation

As PWA are built using JavaScript, there is no need to change the framework or bring new technologies – one can easily build PWA. Talking about this from the user’s perspective, they don’t have to go through the pain of installing PWA. While scrolling through the web browser, they can instantly allow the option of ‘Add to Home Screen’ and the app will be pinned on the devise’s home screen.

• Top-notch performance

To gain loyal customers, the response time of the app is one of the crucial criteria that defines it. To top that, the time take to load the page or speed of download has to fast as flash. PWA makes this process hassle-free and fast.

• Safety and security

For users and developers, safety always takes the front seat. Every PWA ensures that the server is secure from all malfunctions. It appears in the form of a green lock that the user can identify at the top of their browser. Moreover, all the network requests have to pass through Service Workers, hence, it goes without saying that the apps are hosted over HTTPS. This avoids third party attacks.

• Supports cross-platform

PWA supports cross-platform application development making it more widely used by developers. They can create apps that can be used on multiple platforms. This increases the reach of the application. In addition to all this, PWAs are a single codebase that indeed helps the developer.

• Low cost of development

Most applications cost a fortune to be built. However, the way PWA is designed, it does not burn a hole in your pocket. And the best part is it gives good returns too.

• Discoverable and shareable

One of the best parts of PWA is that they are easily identifiable and shareable. In essence, PWA is a website, hence it is discoverable on all search engines. This, indeed, happens to its biggest advantage over native applications.

User case

When it comes to cars and the automotive sector, BMW’s performance has surpassed all the user’s expectations. But that said and done, there is always scope for improvement. The BMW team hit the right chord when they decided to transform the mobile website. This project was handed to Jung von Matt, who runs a Humburg-based digital agency. The task was to build a mobile website that resonates with the company’s vision. Nine months down the line, the results were outstanding. And the approach that they incorporated was PWA and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).


• 50 per cent growth in mobile users.

• Almost 4 times increase in people clicking from to BMW sales site.

• The load time was 4 times faster.

• Almost 50 per cent more sites visit from search engine optimisation than the old site.

Limitations of Progressive Web Applications

There are two sides to a coin. While PWA has ample pros, it too comes with a set of cons. As PWA is still in its initial stages, there are a few challenges that it is facing.

No presence on the store

To reach the target audience, Andriod or Apple Store is a holy grail for all apps. The store gives the apps visibility, legitimacy, and reach. One of the biggest drawbacks of PWA is that they don’t have a reserved place in the store.

• Limited access
When it comes to technical options like Bluetooth, contacts, calendar, NFC; PWA takes a backseat as it does not provide all these functionalities. As PWA are fairly new in the town, they are not yet supported by all software and hardware.

• Lack of hardware and software support
PWA are still in the development phase. Its compatibility with OS and mobile browsers is not just justified. For instance, iOS does not support PWA. Hence, the users have limited access and cannot use functions such as sending push notifications, using Face ID or Touch ID, Siri, or Bluetooth.

Food for thought
Agreed, PWA are still in its initial stages. But it is quite commendable what it brought to the table in such less time. Henrik Joreteg, JavaScript developer, consultant, author, speaker, and educator said:
PWA is the single biggest thing to happen on the mobile web since Steve introduced the iPhone

PWA come in with a breath of fresh air. They give the developers a chance to experiment and give the users the experience of a lifetime. Still, wondering what’s the best solution for your organization? Talk to our experts to know more. Do drop in a message on: