Website vs Mobile App: Which one to go for

Website vs Mobile App: Which one to go for

Website vs App: Have you ever found yourself wondering between an mobile app and a website, which one is best for your next digital project?

  • Most people I come across do not ask themselves this question. Most clients are usually already settled on an idea by the time they seek developers for their project. Let us start with some quick statistics to frame our article:
  • 3.5 billion people worldwide own and use smartphones according to Statista
  • This number is growing rapidly, in 2016 there were only 1 billion smart phone users
  • Close to 70% of internet users do “market research” check out potential businesses and online reviews on their phones. The same amount of people will do their online shopping on mobile devices as opposed to a desktop computer

In South Africa the Statistics are the same – the number of mobile users are estimated to go over 26 million in 2024. About half the national population will be on their smartphones.

Mobile Users Statistics South Africa Tati Digital Connect
Mobile Users Statistics South Africa Tati Digital Connect

We could go on for the entire article, and every source you find will tell you the same thing. Most people will access the internet on their mobile, most advertising is now going towards mobile. The numbers share the same story. Does this help answer our question of Website vs App? By App, i mean mobile application hosted on the Apple and Android store, users download in to their devices.

Mobile App Details

Native Mobile apps have gained popularity over the years, they allow developers and hence entrepreneurs a lot of flexibility and functionality. When you create a mobile app, you can get access to a user’s location, contacts and much more. Information that can help you build your app – some apps would not work without this information. For example, Uber, dating apps, restaurant apps – they need to know where a user is located to be able to be effective.


  • Mobile users are 3 times more likely to return to a mobile device once installed on their device
  • You can send regular notifications to keep users coming back to your app



  • The costs associated with mobile app development are sometimes up to 10 times higher than the cost associated with a similar application on website.
  • The approval process to get your app in the stores is tedious, hence adding to your cost as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs best choice

If 70 – 80 of all internet users are on the mobile, but mobile costs 10 times more to develop, what then should entrepreneurs do. By definition, entrepreneurs are always looking for the most cost effective solution.

Progressive Web Applications

These have become popular in the recent years, the offer the best of both worlds. The majority of popular websites have all moved to create progressive web apps. Here is a list of some brands you might recognise:

Aliexpress – moved their mobile app to PWA

Facebook has both the mobile app and PWA

Twitter saw a 70% increase in tweets and 20% decrease in bounce rate on their PWA

Forbes saw t a 43% increase in session per user, 20% increase in impressions per page

OLX, Pinterest, Spotify, Lancome, Uber, Starbucks,ย  …. ok, errybody has moved on with the times


Why then do we developers still see 80% on new entrepreneurs insisting they want a mobile app anyway?

I do not have the answer to that question.

Why should you build a web app instead?

  • Cost
  • Better reach, more people will add your app to their homescreen instead of downloading a whole application on their device. It is an easier process for users, and feels less intrusive.
  • Get all the benefits of a mobile app without a mobile app
  • You do not need to pay Apple developer fees, just to keep your app in the app store
  • No approvals needed from App store


Actual recommendations for a Web App

There are many solutions you can use for creating a web app, I will not discuss them all – but i will recommend one.

Flutter – We pick flutter

Follow their link and read up on flutter, but I will give you a couple of reasons why we choose flutter

  • You can develop your code once in dart language, that code will then be translated to native code for both Android, Apple and Web. So you could still re-use the same code in future should you decide you still want that mobile app, when you finally manage to get that R200k you need for mobile app development.
  • It is really easy to use for web app development


We will do some tutorials on flutter to help you get started, so stay tuned, subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on the articles when they come out.

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