Progressive Web Applications

PWAs: From Niche to Norm? Exploring the 2024 Growth Explosion

Posted by Prakash Donga

7 Aug 20 10 min read

In the digital world of 2024, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) have firmly established themselves as the crucial bridge connecting traditional web experiences with the smooth functionality of mobile apps. Businesses are actively striving to satisfy consumers constantly by evolving needs for faster, more dependable, and more attractive digital interactions, making PWAs an integral component of modern web development strategies.

This blog post aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of progressive web apps (PWAs), emphasizing their significance, benefits, technological advancements, and implementation strategies. You will also explore the key differences between PWAs, and native apps, along with the top Progressive Web Applications in 2024 and their trending stories in companies like Starbucks, Twitter, Tinder, etc

What are Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?

A PWA, or Progressive Web App, is a specific kind of web application created using a distinctive cross-platform development approach. PWAs offer mobile-optimized web pages that users can install on their phones directly through their web browser

In simple terms, Progressive Web Apps give you the feel of a native application while you are browsing the web on your mobile, without actually installing the application on your mobile phone.

PWAs are the reason why certain websites, like Alibaba, the world’s largest B2B trading platform, offer a seamless browsing experience on mobile. After switching over to a PWA, Alibaba’s mobile conversions increased by 76% and engagement grew by 4X!!

So how did it all begin? Let’s start with a little history.

Evolution of Progressive Web Applications

Although Google officially introduced the term Progressive Web Applications as a new standard in web development during Google’s IO conference in 2016, the concept can initially be attributed to Steve Jobs.

During the historic Apple iPhone launch of 2007, Jobs predicted that developers could build amazing web experiences using Web 2.0 and Ajax that look exactly like an application on iPhones.

But a year later, Apple introduced the App Store, and when Google also jumped into the app race with the Play Store, the era of native apps dominating the mobile internet world began. These apps were fast and responsive, and they ensured that the user had the best experience when looking for something online.

The concept of PWAs went into cold storage for a few years, before 2 Google engineers, Alex Russell and Frances Berriman, observed a new class of websites that were delivering a much better UX than the traditional websites.

They called these web applications “Progressive Web Applications” (PWAs) and Alex Russell called them “responsive, connected—independent, app-like, fresh, safe, discoverable,re-engageable, installable, linkable web experiences.”

Android, Chrome OS, and Windows were the first operating systems to support PWAs, and Apple announced support for PWA technology with the release of "Support Workers" in 2018.

The journey of PWAs has seen significant evolution since their inception. In 2024, advancements in web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, WebAssembly, and Service Workers will push the boundaries of what PWAs can achieve, bringing them closer than ever to native app functionality.

The integration of features like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms into PWAs has opened new avenues for immersive and personalized user experiences.

Key Features of PWAs

In this section, we are going to explore the various features offered by PWAs (Progressive Web Applications ) in 2024:

  • Offline Functionality: Service workers who keep crucial resources in a cache enable PWAs to function offline or in circumstances with poor network connectivity.
  • App-like Interface: They offer a full-screen, app-like interface that can be added to the home screen of a device, without the need for an app store.
  • Push Notifications: PWAs can send push notifications to users, enhancing engagement and retention.
  • Performance and Speed: Enhanced loading speeds and smooth performance, even under challenging network conditions.
  • Security: They are served via HTTPS, ensuring that all data transmitted is secure.

Key Differences between PWAs and Native Apps

Here's a comparison between Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Native Apps.

ParametersProgressive Web Apps (PWAs)Native Apps


Developed using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and can be built using frameworks like React, Angular, Vue.js, etc.

Developed for specific platforms (iOS, Android) using platform-specific languages and tools (Swift, Kotlin for Android; Objective-C, Swift for iOS).

Platform Compatibility

Compatible with multiple platforms and devices (desktop, mobile, tablet) through web browsers.

Specific to the platform they are developed for (iOS apps for iPhones, iPads; Android apps for Android devices).


Installed directly from the web browser, without needing to go through an app store. Can also be added to the home screen.

Installed from platform-specific app stores (Apple App Store for iOS, Google Play Store for Android).

Offline Functionality

Can work offline or with limited connectivity using service workers and caching strategies.

Typically, they require downloading and installing content and updates, and may offer limited offline functionality.


Performance may be slightly slower compared to native apps due to limitations in access to device features and APIs.

Generally, they offer better performance and a smoother user experience due to direct access to device features and hardware acceleration.

Access to Device APIs

Access to some device features and APIs through browser APIs (e.g., geolocation, camera, notifications).

Full access to device features and APIs, providing more capabilities and possibilities for functionality.


Updates are deployed instantly and users receive the latest version upon refreshing the browser.

Updates are pushed to users through app stores and users must manually update their apps.


Generally lower development and maintenance costs compared to native apps.

Higher development costs due to platform-specific development and maintenance requirements.

User Engagement

May have lower user engagement compared to native apps due to less visibility (not listed in app stores).

They tend to have higher user engagement as they are prominently displayed in app stores and users actively search for and install them.

Top Progressive Web Frameworks in 2024

Here, we explore some of the top progressive web frameworks that have taken center stage in 2024, highlighting their unique features and how they contribute to the development of PWAs:


Svelte stands out for its unique approach to web development, offering a compiler that converts app components into highly efficient imperative code that updates the DOM. This innovative approach results in faster runtime performance and smaller bundle sizes, which is critical for PWAs.

Benefits of Svelte

  • Svelte's minimalist approach results in smaller bundle sizes and faster rendering.
  • Optimized code leads to smoother interactions and animations.


React, developed by Facebook, continues to be a powerhouse for PWA development, due to its component-based architecture and extensive ecosystem. The introduction of features like React Hooks and the Context API has made state management and the reuse of logic more straightforward, enhancing the development of complex applications.

Benefits of React

  • Rich Ecosystem includes libraries like Create React App for easy setup and Next.js for server-side rendering.
  • Strong Community Support offering extensive resources.


With its complete MVC architecture, Google-maintained Angular provides a comprehensive solution for creating reliable PWAs. The framework's emphasis on performance, accessibility, and form handling makes it ideal for enterprise-level applications.

Benefits of Angular

  • Offers streamlined development of robust and efficient PWAs.
  • It enables developers to concentrate on creating feature-rich applications.


Preact is a lightweight alternative to React, offering similar features and APIs but with a significantly smaller footprint. Its size efficiency does not compromise performance, making it ideal for PWAs where download speed and execution time are critical.

Benefits of Preact

  • Reduces re-rendering costs, improving app efficiency.
  • Perfect for PWAs requiring fast, interactive user interfaces where performance is key.

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

The reason why PWAs have become all the rage can be attributed to the following key features of PWA:

1. Short or Near Instantaneous Loading Time: With PWAs, several elements of the web page are cached the first time you open it, meaning the loading time for a PWA is much less than that for a mobile-optimized website. In addition, PWAs don’t need the processing power or the storage of a native app, which means their interactive elements will respond immediately to clicks and other user gestures.

2. Functions with limited connectivity: For people who are still in the developing parts of the world, such as the Middle East or Africa, Internet connectivity is a huge problem. But PWAs are “Service Workers,” which are lines of Javascript code that enable it to have instant access to cached resources, meaning you can continue your browsing experience even when the network is slow and sketchy.

3. Better User Experience: PWAs try and imitate the native app, which means they can provide similar functionalities as an app but with fewer resources. When you combine this with speed and the ability to deliver a good UX over slower connections, users are bound to come back to PWAs.

4. Discoverability: PWAs exist on the web, just like any other website, and they can easily be found via a search engine or a social share. Since you don’t need to go to a native app store to find, authenticate, and install the application, PWAs are easier to integrate with your content and social strategies.

5. Easier Updates: Since a PWA is not like a regular native app that requires you to manually install an update via the app store, updating a PWA is much easier and updates can be rolled out even without disturbing the user.

Other than these, PWAs also come with many other benefits, including the ability to send out push notifications, say, to promote a new blog post that you just published. The smaller size of the PWA, along with the faster installation process, also means the marketers have a greater chance of successful onboarding (from the website to the app) and a decreased cost of user acquisition (CAC).

Successful PWA Stories with Top Companies in 2024

A lot of companies have switched over to PWA to enhance user engagement, including:

Here's a compiled list for those who have observed enhanced speed and performance on their websites, resulting in increased user re-engagement, conversions, and ultimately higher revenue post-transition to PWAs. Check it out!


In 2024, Starbucks used the Progressive Web App (PWA), which significantly enhanced the customer experience by offering offline functionality, allowing users to access the app even without an internet connection. This move towards a more accessible and reliable app performance led to increased user engagement and satisfaction, showcasing the potential of PWA technology in improving service delivery and customer interaction for global brands​. Following the launch, Starbucks observed a doubling in daily active users and a notable 23% rise in order variety.


Forbes's success with its Progressive Web App (PWA) in 2024 emphasizes a user-focused approach. The PWA offers personalized content notifications and faster performance compared to their mobile site, leading to a 43% increase in sessions per user, 20% higher ad viewability, and 100% user engagement in the PWA.


Clipchamp's PWA story in 2024 highlights its success in the video editing domain. The PWA facilitated a 97% monthly growth in installations and showcased a 2.3x performance improvement. Users of the PWA demonstrated 9% higher retention compared to standard desktop users. This success story exemplifies how Clipchamp leveraged PWA technology to enhance user experience, making video editing more accessible and efficient​


Within this year, Uber's Progressive Web App (PWA) showcased its efficiency by only requiring 50 KB of storage space, ensuring rapid loading times even in areas with poor network connectivity. This strategic move made the ride-hailing service more accessible and convenient for users, emphasizing the PWA's benefits in offering a seamless booking process and robust offline support. Uber's PWA represents a significant step towards improving user experience in the on-demand transportation sector​.

Will PWAs replace Native apps?

The jury is still out on this one. While a PWA does provide faster load times, easier updates, and a better user experience in general, PWAs are still in their nascent stages.

iOS still does not support all the PWA features mentioned in this article, since Apple considers PWA to be a “Googler term.”

Features such as push notifications, background sync, and web manifest files are still not supported on the Safari browser.

But, according to this article, Apple is slowly encouraging its users to move away from the native App Store and create web applications instead, so we may have more and more PWAs that are iOS compliant in the future.

As technology improves and heavyweights such as Google put more and more muscle behind PWAs, PWAs may replace native apps in the coming decade.

Share your thoughts about what the future of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) looks like.

Wrapping up

In 2024, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) will have established themselves as an important component in web development. Their ability to combine the best of web and mobile app experiences has led to widespread adoption across industries. With enhanced capabilities in offline functionality, performance optimization, and seamless user engagement, PWAs have revolutionized how businesses interact with their audiences.