Top 9 Disadvantages of Mobile Apps and What to Do Instead (2023)

Mobile apps, often referred to as native apps, have dominated digital development and everyday consumer use for most of the last decade.However, the digital transformation is underway again; And considering some of the downsides of mobile apps and the emergence of effective new solutions like PWAs, native apps may be obsolete.

The growth of native apps

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The first smartphone, IBM's Simon, was released in 1994 and came with pre-installed apps like Calculator, Mail, and Notepad. Nokia's popular snake game was even an app. Then the release of the BlackBerry 5810 with "QWERTY" keyboards and wireless access to email was announced.

Fast forward to June 2017 when Apple released its first iPhone that came with the Maps and Weather apps. In July 2008, Apple's App Store was live and third-party app development came to the fore. In 2012, Google merged Android Market, Google Music and Google Books into Google Play.

Is the use of mobile applications stagnating?

The number of native apps downloaded annually by 2019reached 204 billion. But despite the large amount of downloads, most consumers only usenine applications per day. And if you take a closer look at which apps are actually being used, it shows that up to 80% of the time spent with apps is spent on mobile games or Facebook or Facebook-owned apps.

The total number of app downloads could also be a skewed picture as a majority of that number could be kids downloading games.In fact, on average, adults only download one or fewer apps per month.

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A 2017 B2B marketing report found that downloads of new mobile apps were declining. Citing research from Adobe, he said app downloads in the US have declined 38% since 2014, and are still doing so5% less in Europe over the same period. TechCrunch said in 2018, citing Flurry Research, that time spent on mobile apps increased just 6% in 2017, compared to an 11% growth in 2016.

Many statistics point to an increasing use of mobile apps, while others indicate that their use is gradually declining due to the many disadvantages of mobile apps. What seems to be becoming increasingly clear, however, is that despite the popularity of apps, consumers seemunwilling to constantly download new and unknown applications.One explanation could be that consumers are tired of constantly compromising device storage with new apps.

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On average, the market for mobile apps is probably still in flux. However, it is dominated by major players such as Facebook, Google and WhatsApp. These app giants aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but the viability and diversification of the native app market as a wholehas stalledAnd for businesses smaller than Facebook, this is a fundamental fact that cannot be ignored.

A weak and difficult-to-penetrate market should be a serious consideration for a company to invest time and investment in developing a native app. There are other reasons why native apps might do this as wellno longer the perfect solution for customer loyalty. Especially now that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer an interesting, cost-effective and consumer-friendly alternative.

What are some of the biggest disadvantages of mobile apps?

That being said, there are a number of reasons why mobile app downloads may have stalled. These are some of the biggest disadvantages of mobile apps compared to more modern and efficient solutions like e.gProgressive Web-Apps:

1.Mobile apps are not a substitute for a website

Native apps are a fantastic tool for many businesses to engage customers by offering rewards programs, shopping apps, location finders and more. Other companies are built entirely around a native app that is critical to their business, and this can be a game, a utility, a tool like the ubiquitous Uber, or some other form of entertainment.There's an app for everything.

But no matter what the use case for a native app, a successful business always needs a website. Therefore, planning, building and developing both a website and a mobile application requires twice the effort. And of course,double the money! This is one of the disadvantages of mobile applications that not all companies can overcome.

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2.You need Android and iOS apps and entries

did we say double? Add to that the fact that you will probably need to reach all of your potential customersDevelopment of a native app for Android and a separate one for iOS operating systems, unless you take the suboptimal hybrid approach. According to Statcounter, Android users account for a large chunk of device market share, up from 76.76% between October 2018 and October 2019, but iOS users still account for a whopping 22.09%.

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3.Update and maintenance costs are multiplied

You're not just investing in developing a website or a native mobile app. Both must also beupdated regularly and as neededevery time the product or service changes. Account for Android and iOS updates, and it could be three different developers to be tasked with three sets of updates.

Not only that, but the app stores tooTake your time to re-approveupdated applications and in order for consumers to benefit from an update, they must download software updates or re-download an entire application.

4.Added to this is additional marketing pressure

One of the downsides of mobile apps that many companies fail to consider when evaluating their options is thatMarketingdruck.

A company's marketing needs are complicated by the need to drive traffic to both a website and a native app. Even if a company's primary function, product, or service is provided through a mobile app, you still need to leverage, promote, and market a website. But take a retailer that uses a mobile app for rewards.

You could get half your conversion from a website and half from a mobile app. such dealsneed a marketing strategyand Budget, which drives traffic to both your website and the app store link where your app is listed.

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5.You need a separate URL

Next on our list of mobile app cons is how they are shared and distributed. When it comes to native apps, your marketing efforts span multiple locations, likely including:

  • His website;
  • Your app on the Google Play Store;
  • And your application in the Apple App Store;

And maybe even more if your app is listed in app stores other than those mentioned above. This means you need to develop onevery efficient strategyfor each individual channel. In comparison, Progressive Web Apps can be shared with a single URL or QR code.

6.Native apps don't help with SEO

Probably one of the biggest disadvantages of mobile applications is that their content isNot indexed by search engines.This means they can't be optimized for organic traffic, and consequently users won't be able to find your app through Google or any other search engine.

Driving traffic to a mobile app is done solely through app link and store listing marketing efforts. The other option is to wait for users to find you by searching for a specific app in the App Store.

7.App Store listings can be challenging

There are somewhat hidden costs to native app development. There is an annual fee for publishing an app in the Apple App Store and a one-time fee for the Google Play Store.But it's not that easy to get your app working.

Listing an app can be a difficult process. There are restrictions on certain types of apps and both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store limit the quality and type of app creation.

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You may also find that the additional development, publishing, and marketing costs make it difficult for you to get your app approved or keep it active in one or more app stores.

App stores also require itregular software updatesBut there are lengthy approval processes for updated apps, even if they're previously listed. In fact, many applications can suffer from itApp Store Rejectionfor non-compliance with laws, regulations, special requirements of each application and privacy policies.

They also rely on user reviews.These can be hard to come by, but good reviews will increase your app's visibility in a store. Bad reviews are a whole different story, and even if you don't deserve them, they reduce your app's visibility in the store.

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8.costs, costs, costs

We'll reiterate the costs here as there are mobile app listing fees, not to mention the initial development costs and the cost of regular updates. Considering that a native app can cost thousands of dollars, this is probably one of the biggest drawbacks of mobile apps to date.

App stores are also taking oneCommission percentage on sales, up to 30%.Then there are the marketing costs. Since native apps cannot be optimized for search engines, they rely entirely on marketing efforts and customer reviews.

9.Consumers may have trouble finding your app

Unfortunately, most applicationsNever do your first download.Without downloads, consumer reviews to improve ratings and rankings are not possible, leading to a vicious cycle of no downloads, no reviews, no visibility, and again no downloads. YesMarketing efforts failor not enough budget to direct visitors to an app store link, a new app may be dead.

The chart below illustrates the potential abandonment rate and abandonment point for 1,000 consumer clicks that could result in an app download. Out of a total of 1,000 potential consumers, only 800 consumers download the App Store, only 640 find an app successfully, more abandon the "Accept Permissions" notification andonly 262 out of 1,000 probably use an app.

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And even when they find an app, consumers are unwilling or unable to give it their device's resources.

Many consumers around the world are less inclined to download new apps, preferring to conserve resources on their devices. A 2019 Zipwhip State of Texting report found this out61% of consumers would not install a new appto communicate with a company.

Although the report focuses on the use of communication applications, its findings indicate a growing consumption trend. Zipwhip says a typical consumer struggles with data management and21% of consumers abandon new apps after the first download.Additionally, a whopping 77% of consumers never use an app again 72 hours after installing it.

A growing trend in using "lite" apps tells a similar story. A CNBC report shows companies should use lessdevice memory hungry approachto reach consumers. The report focuses on the 6.47 billion consumers in developing countries who tend to have simpler smartphones and less connectivity at their disposal. It details the launch of "lite" mobile apps from Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and other big tech companies. Jun Wen Woo, senior analyst at IHS Markit says:

“Technology companies are offering lite apps to tailor their services to data-conscious users. App Store listings are demanding and expensive.”

According to Sensor Tower co-founder Alex Malafeev:

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"Lightweight versions of popular mobile apps should continue to outpace the adoption of their full-featured counterparts in developing markets... where data limitations and the proliferation of low-end devices are driving their popularity."

Nicolas Gallagher, Lead Engineering at Twitter Lite says:

“Twitter Lite is now the fastest, cheapest and most reliable way to use Twitter. The web app rivals the performance of our native apps but uses 3% of device storage compared to Twitter for Android.”

What are these so-called “lite apps”?Well, in most cases they are actually Progressive Web Apps. We'll tell you more about PWAs below, but keep one thing in mind: you canuses up to 200 times less storage space on the deviceals native Apps.

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PWAs could be the solution you need

To overcome the challenges caused by the disadvantages of mobile apps, you might want to look at another solution: Progressive Web Apps.

A PWA is a mobile website built with JavaScript that gives you the benefits of a traditional websiteFunctionality and trade-off of a native app.It can be added to a mobile device's home screen with an icon and offers full-screen usage, but is essentially a website. google says:

"Progressive web apps are user experiences that have the reach of the internet."

And PWAs are trusted because

"Load immediately and never show Downasaur, even under unsecure network conditions."

They are also fast and attractive because:

"Feel like a natural app on the device with an immersive user experience."

PWAs can provide the same experience as a fun, interactive mobile app, while still enabling app features like push notifications and the ability to browse offline without many of the costs and inconveniences.

What solutions do PWAs offer for the disadvantages of mobile apps?

You can have a PWA instead of a website and native app.
PWAs work just as well on desktop as they do on mobile, with no separate development required. They are a one-size-fits-all solution that offers mobile app interaction and website functionality.

1. A PWA is automatically compatible with Android and iOS

Your PWA is built like a website to work on any device and any operating system, meaning you don't need two versions of the app and also a website.

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2. Marketing is simplified and more cost-effective

With a single PWA, marketing becomes much easier as all visitor traffic is directed to a single location and URL. Your visitors can choose how they want to navigate or interact once they arrive.

3. You don't need a separate URL

As we mentioned in the previous section, one of the main disadvantages of mobile apps is that they require separate marketing strategies to promote each channel and app store. However, Progressive Web Apps can be shared, promoted and accessed with a single URL.

4. Progressive Web Apps can be optimized for SEO

In this sense, PWAs work just like a normal website. They are called up on your homepage and each page of your progressive web app is indexed by search engines and has its own URL.

You can optimize each page just like your normal website. This means you can actively work to improve your search engine rankings and get more traffic and visibility from Google as your content grows.

5. PWAs are accessed through a browser

Because it's a website, only with a lot more features like an app, a PWA can be accessed through any browser. They can have a desktop icon and link and be used offline, but they existno app store listing requiredor download

It also means that, unlike native apps, you can direct consumers to a specific page in your PWA directly from an email or marketing campaign. This is a very efficient solution to one of the main disadvantages of mobile apps: convincing people to download your app.

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Progressive web apps don't need to be downloaded, which means an icon needs to be installed for easy access to the apptakes up up to 200 times less space on the device.

In comparison, one of the disadvantages of mobile applications is that they have to be downloaded on the electronic device, which takes up valuable space for the user. PWAs don't need to be downloaded at all. Data from a PWA is cached, but this takes up much less space anddoes not require a full download processfrom an app store.

Caching takes place in the background and even means fast loading of a PWA page next time. When Progressive Web App content is updated, the cache is also updated quickly and easily in the background.

6. A Beezer PWA is an even better solution!

Here at Beezer, you can build your PWAeasy and cheap without any technical knowledge. You don't need a developer. Bezer is aDrag-and-Drop-PWA-Builderto build PWAs without massive design, development and maintenance costs. And updating your Beezer PWA is instant and unlimited!

No app store listing is required, so you avoid hassles, costs and commission fees. You get all the features of a standard PWA plus the functionality of a native app, plus full analytics so you can appropriately manage your PWA and its content.

Native Apps vs. PWAs: The Verdict

Native app development and usage has grown rapidly and has dominated brands' marketing efforts for a number of years. However, the internet and our digital habits are once again evolving, and some of the disadvantages of mobile applications have been addressed by modern solutions. It's no longer exciting to have tons of apps on your smartphone and in your hand.We still want interactivity and ease of use, but we don't want clutter and hassle anymore.

The services we want to use should be within our reach quickly, but out of the way when we don't need them. PWAs offer consumers the captivity and functionality of an app with the ease of a website. For companies that develop, manage, maintain and market, instead of numerous expensive channels, a PWA is a much more efficient and effective investment.

We take a deeper look at the PWA features and functions and discuss someinspirational stories from the PWA brand here. Ready to start building your Beezer PWA?Try our 30-day free trial here.

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Thank you for taking the time to read our article on the top disadvantages of mobile apps. We hope to see you in the next one! For questions aboutdifferent types of application developmentand Progressive Web Apps, you can also contact us so we can answer your questions.


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