In 2017 63% of all internet traffic came from mobile compared to desktops and this trend is set to grow further in 2019. This statistic is higher if you look at the US market, 71% of the countries digital traffic originates from a mobile device, either smartphone or tablet.

Google already favours websites that are responsive, offering a mobile-friendly version, and most companies have already embraced mobile, adapting their websites to be responsive.

Recent research shows that 90% of users mobile time is spent in apps, and only 10% browsing the rest of the internet. In the ecommerce space, the contrast is even more glaring: mobile app users spend an average 201.8 minutes per month shopping, compared to 10.9 minutes/month for website users.

Furthermore, there is a three-fold conversion rate with ecommerce apps compared to mobile sites, and a two-fold increase in repeat customer.

A mobile app has many advantages over a mobile website, all the static data is stored on your phone so you do not have to download various user interfaces to navigate the site. This makes them considerably faster than mobile web, which in turn improved bounce rates and conversion rate.

In general, you login in once and that’s it, if the app takes payments these are stored within the app, so you are free to shop without having to remember login details or pull your card out. Mobile apps can be customised for different platforms allowing you to optimise it for each operating system and in general there are fewer things to optimise for. With the browser market you have many different browsers, a huge number a screen sizes and many other variables affecting the performance of a site.

A mobile app also provides access to things like push notifications, superior location access, and access to things like the camera.

For small companies, the cost of having a bespoke native app developed is often too high, with most bespoke apps costing many thousands which can increase considerably dependant on the complexity of the app.  

Developing a bespoke app quite often requires custom code for each platform with Android using Java and Apple using Swift. While UI elements might get re-used, large sections of the code will need to be coded independently for each platform.

However, converting a website to mobile app is possible via more affordable methods. Using Cordova, you can develop apps with HTML, CSS, and JS in one code base then convert it to platform independent apps.

Cordova basically wraps your existing website into a mobile application, it is not quite as simple as providing your URL and it giving you a mobile app though. The code needs adapting to be app specific, for example, you are not loading the UI each time you go to a new page, it is already stored within the app. You will also have to design new UI features for navigation, as it is likely that your current website will not have navigation buttons (as your browser has these). There are many other features that will need integrating, or removing before you can compile it into a mobile app. The final version won’t be quite as good as a bespoke coded app, but it offers smaller companies a semi-affordable entry point to apps.

There are many companies that can advise you on what is needed to convert your website to a mobile app and whether or not a multi-platform approach like Cordova is viable or if you would be better of with a native app.

Data Sources : jmango360 & similarweb