Why Would You Need Progressive Web Apps? (And 6 Famous Websites That Successfully Use Them)

There’s been a lot of buzz around Progressive Web Apps (PWA), ever since Alex Russell from Google coined the term back in 2015. He called them “Just websites that took all the right vitamins”, however, here’s another, more extensive description:

“Progressive Web Apps are experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of apps. They are useful to users from the very first visit in a browser tab, no install required. As the user progressively builds a relationship with the app over time, it becomes more and more powerful. It loads quickly, even on flaky networks, sends relevant push notifications, has an icon on the home screen, and loads as a top-level, full screen experience.” – Pete LePage, Developer Advocate at Google.

In other words, Progressive Web Apps combine the ease of access and reach of the Web with the immersive experience of native apps.

Why should you consider them?

Because just like in many other areas of technology and software development, customer experience is paramount. With the PWA you can provide your consumers with an app-like feel, with all the information and capabilities that they are used to in the mobile app world, but without the need to install anything. PWAs have been reported to provide many benefits for businesses, such as:

  • Increased conversions, page visits, and prolonged sessions
  • Improved website performance
  • Faster loading times
  • More user engagement
  • Less data consumption

Some of the biggest business names now use PWAs, including NASA, Lyft, or Starbucks, while tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Chrome recently had similar announcements.

Here is another comprehensive list of 6 renowned companies that use progressive web apps.

1. AliExpress

The mega-popular eCommerce site owned by Alibaba Group, converted their mobile site into a PWA a few years ago. Before that, they were trying to convert non-app users and site visitors into mobile app users but that didn’t work out that well – user engagement on mobile was falling flat. Ever since they invested in cross-browser PWA, user experience was significantly enhanced, as well as the overall performance of the AliExpress website platform, with:

  • 104% increased conversion rates
  • 2X more pages visited per session
  • 74% more time spent per session

2. Flipkart

Another eCommerce success story from Asia – India’s Flipkart – recently switched to progressive web and called it Flipkart Lite.

Back in 2015, Flipkart temporarily shut down its mobile website and embraced an app-only strategy.

They found it difficult to deliver an engaging web experience, especially because more than half of their users were browsing through flaky or 2G networks.

When they converted their site to the PWA, they noticed:

  • Increased conversions by 70%
  • Re-engaged users by an additional 40%
  • 3X more time spent on site
  • 3X lower data usage

3. Twitter

More than 80% of Twitter users are on mobile, so it was crucial to improve the mobile web experience.

PWA version, called Twitter Lite, was rolled out as the default mobile web experience for users worldwide, to enable faster uploading and more engagement from users located in areas with poor network conditions.

Instant loading time, lower data usage, enhanced engagement with push notifications and the ability to add the app to users’ home screens resulted in:

  • 75% increase in Tweets sent
  • 20% decrease in bounce rate
  • 65% increase in pages per session

4. Forbes

The readers of this top US business magazine can enjoy a fantastically responsive website, thanks to its PWA. It increased load times and doubled engagement rates with push notifications and an option to add the Forbes app to the home screen.

Forbes PWA website “score” was:

  • Increased engagement of 100%
  • 6X more readers completing articles
  • 43% increase in sessions per user
  • 20% higher impressions per page

5. Pinterest

Fans that use this popular “virtual cork board” for curating images, recipes, videos, and products used to have a slow website experience, which converted only 1% of all visitors into mobile app users.

With the PWA deployed, Pinterest’s website was faster, engagement went up, as well as the clickthrough rate and time spent on the mobile web.

Numbers tell it best:

  • 40% increase in time spent on the mobile web
  • 44% increase in user-generated ad revenue
  • 50% increase in ad click-throughs
  • 60% increase in engagement

6. Lancôme

This French luxury cosmetics brand actually had a growing number of mobile users but not enough conversion through the mobile site.

They wanted to respond to market mobile commerce trends and create a faster and better mobile web experience.

Here are the key results after implementing PWA:

  • Shortened interactivity time by 84%
  • Increased mobile sessions by 51%
  • Increased conversions by 17%
  • Decrease in bounce rates by 15%

Progressive Web Apps’ Fortune Cookie

PWAs fit the “Mobile-First” world perfectly; they are up to 10 times cheaper and faster to build and update. Their great advantage is also that they can be displayed on any device – without the need to create a separate app for Apple or Android systems. They have seriously shaken the native app production.

On the other hand, progressive web apps are not yet supported on all browsers or software. For example, they can’t use features such as GPS or fingerprint scanners. However, with the pace of technology development at such a rapid rate, it is only a matter of time until PWAs will add those capabilities.

Sound interesting? Find out more about how Clover can help you modernize your web experience with Progressive Web Apps. (link to internal page: PWA Clover)