PWA vs Mobile Apps

Thursday March 30, 2023

When it comes to building cross-platform apps, how do you decide what to build for? Progressive Web Apps and React Native Apps are the most well-known technologies utilised for the task, however choosing which one to opt for isn’t so black and white. Here’s a look at both development approaches and the advantages and drawbacks they offer, depending on your end goal.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

Progressive Web App (PWA) is one of the latest solutions for developing web-based applications. It essentially combines the best of web and mobile apps taking advantage of the latest technologies, while offering up ease of development for deploying and maintaining a website.

Think of it this way: it’s essentially a website that has been built using web technology, yet it acts like an app to users. For example, it can send push notifications, provide offline availability, can be installed on a mobile and more. It works on any device and takes advantage of the features available. At the same time, it’s also discoverable in search engines and easy to update live with immediate refresh available.

If you’re looking to launch quickly, PWA is the way to go. It’s slightly easier to develop (and less costly as well) and can be pushed live immediately, making it easier to stick to company-wide deadlines. Plus, you can reach the largest audience possible, with and without a connection to the internet.

PWA Benefits:

  1. Runs on any device or operating system
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Can rely on SEO for discoverability
  4. Feels and looks like an app for users
  5. Can work offline
  6. Secure

React Native Apps

React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework, which is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows and more. It’s the most popular framework for developing cross-platform mobile applications, with developers holding the ability to use the React framework along with native platform capabilities. They can create platform-specific versions of components, allowing a single codebase to act as sharecode across platforms.

Essentially, React Native Apps are your traditional apps downloaded and installed onto your mobile from your phone model’s application store. Some of the most well-known examples include Facebook, Instagram and more.

If you’re looking to target mobile users with an app they will keep coming back to, React Native apps offer strategic advantages. Developers can create react native apps that enhance user’s experience, developing code that offers a truly native experience thanks to platform-specific components.

React Native Benefits

  1. Full device integration
  2. Best UX
  3. Secure
  4. Broad features
  5. Reusable code

PWA vs Mobile Apps

As you might expect, the answer isn’t that simple. Here are a few things to think about that will help you narrow down your decision based on your business strategy.

Mobile First

The general consensus is that a React Native App is best when you expect users will be returning to it frequently. If your initial goal is to target mobile devices, then it makes sense to funnel your efforts into React Native. However, if you’re hoping to reach the widest customer base possible, then PWA is your best friend.


In terms of development costs, React Native Apps tend to come out on top. Due to the complexity involved with the codebase, they can cost more to get up and running. However, it’s also worth noting that thanks to this codebase, the app can be published for both Android and Apple, which also saves on traditional app development costs, while ensuring great user experience.

When it comes to PWA apps, developers write your app once and it runs almost anywhere a browser is available.


It’s no secret that this is where PWAs stand out against the Native App. They are not only available on the web and discoverable within search engines, but they can also be published to app stores as well.


Considering both approaches rely heavily on JavaScript, the performance is similar across both. React Native holds a slight upper hand, offering a together integrated system that doesn’t need to communicate through a browser. Code is written for a specific operating system, integrating seamlessly and providing faster capabilities when it comes to user experience.


When it comes to monetising a product or service, React Native Apps make the process easier. While PWAs require a custom payment processing solution, Native Apps can use the in-built App Stores’ payment systems to enable users to make purchases with ease.


Development teams will need a set amount of time to bring both PWAs and Native React Apps to life. The key difference comes at the pushing live process. Native Apps need to be approved by Google and Apple before users are able to find and download them. This process can take up to a week – assuming you get accepted. If you’re working to a tight deadline, it might be better to opt for a PWA.


An app loses 20% of its users during the set-up process. This includes finding it in the app store, downloading and installing it on your device. This is the process for accessing a React Native App. With PWAs, users can get started immediately.


User retention is another aspect to consider. React Native apps with push notifications actually achieve up to three times more retention, with a user more likely to reopen a mobile app rather than a website.

While prioristings your needs can help narrow down the technology, there’s a lot more involved when it comes to the development side.It’s crucial to consider every detail to help you make the right decision based on your business strategy and resources. Before diving in, it helps to chat with an expert team who can guide you with your business requirements in mind.

Get the right help

At the end of the day, PWA vs React Native all comes down to your business needs. OSKY specialises in both and can advise the right solution for your business requirements. We offer cost-effective solutions that offer the upper hand over your competitors. Simply set up a call today and get started.

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