PWA vs. Native Apps: Which Is Best for Your Business in 2024?

In the modern mobile and web development industry of 2024, should you invest in Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) or stick with native apps? Is a PWA development company more suitable for your projects, or should you stick to a platform-specific developer? Both options have merits, and choosing the right approach can impact your business’s success. 

A comparative look at both options can be helpful for decision making, so let’s learn how both PWAs and native apps can benefit your business.


A Brief Intro to PWAs and Native Apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) combine web and app experiences. They work seamlessly across platforms (desktop computers, mobile devices, and tablets) and adapt to various screen sizes. You can directly install PWAs in browsers, operate offline, and send push notifications. While cost-effective, they have limited access to device features compared to native apps.

Conversely, native apps explicitly developed for iOS or Android have full access to device features and guarantee a consistent user experience. Being listed in app stores enhances visibility and credibility. However, native app development involves higher costs, separate codebases, and maintenance costs.

Understanding Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have become more prominent over the past few years, and their popularity continues to grow. Here are some of the advantages of using PWAs:

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: PWAs work seamlessly across devices, including desktop, mobile, and tablet. They adapt to various screen sizes and browsers. Their design is fairly consistent across devices, which enhances user experience. Being cross-platform means they are easily accessible by a broad range of users worldwide.
  • Installation and Accessibility: Unlike native apps, PWAs don’t require installation from an app store. Users can simply add them to their home screens directly from the browser. Such frictionless installation increases accessibility.
  • Offline Functionality: Thanks to service workers and caching, many PWAs can operate offline, depending on the purpose. Users can sometimes access content without a stable internet connection, which is especially helpful for people living in remote areas or traveling.
  • Push Notifications: PWAs can send push notifications, which engage users and encourage repeat visits. This is an essential feature for service or media apps.
  • Responsive Design: PWAs automatically adjust to different devices, eliminating the need for separate instances across multiple platforms. The most significant advantage of a responsive and cross-platform design is that you can maintain your application and add major updates with minimal hindrance. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Budget plays a significant role in any business venture, not just app development. Developing a PWA is often more cost-effective than building separate native apps for iOS and Android.

However, PWAs also have limitations, such as limited access to device-specifc features (e.g., sensors, Bluetooth) and potential performance trade-offs.

The Power of Native Apps

Native apps developed specifically for a particular platform (iOS or Android) offer several specific advantages within the platform they are developed for; they can utilize features native to the device to give the user a more personal experience.

  • Device Performance: Native apps are optimized for speed and responsiveness; they leverage platform-specific APIs and hardware acceleration. For instance, devices with powerful GPUs will have a better experience with a graphic-heavy app.
  • Access to Device Features: Native apps can access device features, including cameras, GPS, and sensors. This enables rich functionalities and seamless integrations, making native apps more interactive.
  • User Experience: Native apps provide a precise experience. Where PWAs may look similar on different devices, native apps appear more device-specific. Users appreciate the native look and feel, contributing to higher engagement and retention rates.
  • App Stores: A reliable indicator of an App is its rating. Unlike PWAs, native apps are listed in stores and receive ratings, reviews, and, most importantly, criticism. Being listed on app stores (Apple App Store, Google Play) gives native apps visibility and credibility. 
  • Offline Capabilities: Native apps can function offline, storing data locally and syncing when online. This makes them very useful as they’re always available on your device.

However, native app development involves higher costs, longer development cycles, and the need for separate codebases for iOS and Android. Since native apps are platform-specific, updating and maintenance on different platforms must be done separately.

Making a choice: PWA or Native App?

Time to make a decision. Consider the following factors when deciding between PWAs and native apps:

  • Performance: If speed and responsiveness are mission-critical for the service you’re providing, native apps may perform slightly better, because PWAs may lag in complex animations or resource-intensive tasks. As PWAs can’t utilize the potential of individual devices, they appear a bit generic.
  • User Experience: If the user experience needs to be precisely controlled, or if your app heavily relies on native interactions (e.g., camera usage, sensors), consider going native. However, PWA is much better suited for a service-focused business with a lot of traffic, such as Flipkart, Uber, or Spotify. 
  • Development Cost: PWAs are cost-effective, especially if you want a presence on both platforms without duplicating efforts. Native apps require separate development approaches and, therefore, different skill sets.
  • Reach: PWAs are a better option if you’re trying to attract a diverse and global user base. They have a broader reach as they work on any device with a modern browser, while native apps are limited to specific platforms. 
  • Offline Functionality: If offline functionality is essential, both options can deliver, but native apps may handle this a bit more seamlessly.

Business Goals: The most important step is to align your choice with your business goals. Do you want a global user base or a local and more specific one? Is the number of features more important than overall performance? Consider your target audience, budget, and long-term update strategies.


In 2024, the PWA vs. native debate remains relevant. While PWAs offer flexibility and cost savings, native apps provide access to device-specific features, so the decision ultimately comes down to your specific objectives for your application.