Apps will outpace websites in the next 5 years because mobile devices being humans' primary device is growing rapidly. Many people today turn to their mobile devices for entertainment, learning, searching, and much more. As mobile devices are becoming more readily available to consumers than any other technology, through price points and mobility. Along with how mobile devices are used compared to desktops, “More locally focused searches will happen more often on a mobile device (perhaps something like looking for the nearest gas station or fast-food restaurant), while more general questions are used on desktops.”(broadband search) and 66% of all site visits came from mobile devices in 2020.

How its always been

Desktops are catered more towards productivity versus mobile devices catering towards everyday moments and tasks. However, when it comes to the web on mobile, people are not staying as long on mobile sites when compared to previous years, thus indicating a trend not so positive for websites built for mobile and businesses that cater solely to web platforms.

Unless people are desktop enthusiasts or need desktops for work, it can be justified not having a decent desktop or even a desktop at all but everyone does need a phone. Along with data we have available, it seems that more people are ordering goods on mobile, whether on the couch or out on the go (we cannot be certain either way), than ever before.

So why mobile apps over the mobile web? For a majority of brands, mobile traffic either comes from search engines or social media, as smartphones make up 80% of all social media browsing, thus as a brand, they would want to convert that traffic somewhere. It is about making long-lasting leads. It is far more difficult and costly to convert a lead to a website versus a mobile app, even if a website has the same capabilities. As the number of mobile users grows, brands are going to want to keep these leads for the long term and create their customer ecosystem.

With the surge of more mobile devices, businesses will be more inclined to be an easier option for customers. So first they will make their existing website a lot more mobile-friendly. Then they will eventually realize the limitations that come with mobile websites, lack of push notifications, native components, access to devices features, and more.

Furthermore leading them to build out their own native apps. The primary driver for businesses to focus more on mobile apps rather than mobile websites is the number of features and opportunities available to them with mobile apps compared to mobile websites. Along with the fact, Gartner predicts that low code application building would gather more than 65% of all app development functions by the year 2024, making it 1000% easier for a business to make the shift.

Another big factor is friction and load times, regardless of how good a mobile website could get, the majority of users will first access the browser, thus providing another liability and barrier for a business, this is a gatekeeper. Then from there if the user is lucky and is already on the site when they open their browser, the user will have to touch the URL bar and type the URL.

Granted there will be URL suggestions making this faster. Then they are on your site, that is 3 clicks at minimum just access a businesses website. Granted you can add URL shortcuts to your home screen reducing your clicks to be the same as an app but that comes with increased load time. However, at that point, that would just be redundant for a business to avoid having an app if a customer is already behaving with their mobile website as an app.

Here are some facts from https://www.hobo-web.co.uk/ that will influence the decision of choosing an app over a website and why many wills in the future.