The Most Popular PWAs of 2021: An Introduction to Progressive Web Apps

Have you ever wondered why web apps like Tinder, Starbucks, or Uber are so popular? Some of the most popular apps on the market are Progressive Web Apps, also known as PWAs. But what exactly are PWAs and why are they all the rage? Let’s take a closer look at some of these apps and why you should consider building one for your growing business.

The Most Popular PWAs: An Introduction to Progressive Web Apps

What is a PWA and how do they differ from native apps?

After selecting the brains of expert web developers, we defined the main features of PWAs and how they differ from native applications?

Although PWAs are still technically “apps”, the main thing is that they work in a browser and are not downloaded to your device. For example, you can easily access the Flipboard PWA through your phone’s browser without having to download the app. Their browser version still looks, feels and acts the same, but doesn’t take up as much storage space.

Let’s explore the specific features that make up a PWA.

Features of a PWA

If you plan to build a web application, the functionality of a PWA might better suit your goals. So, let’s take a look. For an application to be considered progressive, it must be:

  • Sensitive
  • Accessible offline
  • Simple to navigate (like a mobile app)
  • Up to date
  • Sure
  • Easily detectable
  • Able to produce push notifications
  • Installable
  • Easily connectable

In addition to these features, the software must be built with a web application manifest, service worker, and use HTTPS. Here’s a breakdown of those more technical aspects.

Web Application Manifest

Your web application must contain a file that makes it “installable” on your desktop. For example, when you type “”, you will be prompted to install the desktop version.

service worker

A service worker is a script that runs in the background when using a PWA. It caches information, making it available for offline use. For example, Starbucks has created a powerful PWA that allows customers to check prices, customize their order, and add items to their cart offline. Once online, the purchase can be implemented.


HTTPS provides safe and secure hosting for PWAs to ensure that no one can interfere with or eavesdrop on communications between your application and the user. All PWAs must use HTTPS. If you want to switch to HTTPS, we recommend that you contact the best web developers.

Now that we’ve broken down the terms and what a PWA is, let’s take a look at a list of popular Progressive Web Apps and what makes them successful.

The 10 most successful PWAs on the market

Many companies are starting to create their own PWAs. But what makes these apps so popular? Here are some of the most successful examples that have taken their audience by storm and exceeded all expectations.


Starbucks has created a PWA that allows users to view and interact with their website as they would with a native app. By comparison, their PWA is over 99% smaller than their downloadable iOS app. Plus, those who may not have internet access at all times can still easily browse, access and add menu items to their cart.

Once back online, users can purchase their items. The goal of this PWA was to provide Starbucks customers with an app-like experience where they could easily personalize their orders from anywhere.

Since its introduction, Starbucks has seen a significant increase in its web app orders – 2x the amount in fact – and reports that the number of orders coming from its browser is about the same as the native app.

Image source: awesome


The main advantage of Flipboard is the ability to access news reports and segments from around the world in one convenient place. Initially launched as a native app, Flipboard has developed its PWA to complement the app.

The goal of their PWA is to give their audience a very easy to use web application experience. One who feels, looks and reacts alike. With the service worker intact, viewers can save stories and images to access later offline. Flipboard’s PWA is also much smaller and loads faster.

Image source: Flipboard


In 2017, Forbes announced the release of a fancy new mobile web experience with all the functionality of a PWA. At the time of the announcement, they also stated that the PWA will be released in 3 phases.

Forbes’ focus revolved around faster loading speeds, improved user experience, aesthetics, and access to offline content. “This new mobile site is our first major step in optimizing our storytelling capabilities, and it creates a better, faster, and more engaging experience for Forbes readers,” said Salah Zalatimo, SVP Product and Technology at Forbes Media. .

The new page loads blazingly fast – 8/10 of a second, to be exact. As for their results? Their user engagement has doubled since release.

Image source:


While two-thirds of their bookings come from mobile users, MakeMyTrip has developed a PWA to complement their successful native app. For some, it’s best to simply book a vacation online through a web browser.

This makes their PWA the perfect addition to their marketing strategy. Since implementing, they have seen 3x more conversions through their PWA and a 20% reduction in their bounce rate. They were also able to reach 24% more cities in India, their target audience.

Image source: makemytrip


Most Uber users may have had success booking rides through the user-friendly mobile app, but new users seem to prefer booking through a web browser. This stat led to the creation of their PWA to help streamline user interaction and increase conversions.

Uber’s main focus when developing the web app? Speed ​​of course, worthy of a transport company. Switching to a new framework gave them the speed they wanted and improved the overall customer experience.

Image source: Uber


Noting that Internet users brought only 1% of conversions, Pinterest set itself the goal of increasing their conversion rate exponentially. After development, they saw substantial growth in time spent on the web app (40%), growth in ad revenue (up 44%), and greater engagement (up 66%).

Image source: pintrest


Like other well-known companies, Spotify has developed a PWA to go along with their native mobile and desktop app. While you can certainly download the desktop app, Spotify has completely revamped its web browsing experience with its improved PWA.

With improved functionality, speed, responsiveness, and visuals, users enjoy a more enjoyable music listening experience. Overall, the PWA works much better than before. And, depending on your personal preference, you may prefer it over their desktop app.

image source: spotify

Light Twitter

Focusing on browser updates and improvements, Twitter decided to create the Twitter Lite PWA. They wanted to increase responsiveness, accessibility and speed, while reducing data usage (up to 70%).

They focused on developing their PWA so that users can easily navigate between multiple accounts, send direct messages, and have greater ease of use. By adding keyboard shortcuts, searchable GIFs, and push notifications, they were able to achieve this.

With a “save to homepage” prompt added, Twitter noticed a significant boost. They reported 250,000 unique daily users with interactions coming directly from the subscriber homepage. With over 328 million monthly users, Twitter’s focus is on PWA download size/speed. The PWA runs at 600KB compared to the 25.5MB required for their traditional application.

Image source: xatakandroid


Recognized as a very user-friendly cooking tool, Yummly helps provide home chefs with delicious, nutritious and timely recipes. Although they have their own native app for consumers to download, the website works, feels and looks like a mobile app.

It’s extremely user-friendly and even remembers the types of ingredients you like to cook with. You will receive new recommended recipes to satisfy your taste buds, budget and time constraints based on your convenience.

Image source: yum


Like many others, the Tinder PWA is significantly smaller than its native mobile app (2.8MB and 30MB, respectively). After focusing specifically on loading speeds and improving performance, Tinder saw impressive increases in user swipes, messaging, profile edits, and time spent within the PWA. They also noticed that purchases are similar to their native app.

Image Source: Tinder

Turn to Progressive web application development for your next project

The data speaks for itself. Businesses serious about improving user experience and boosting sales are turning to PWAs for answers.

The question is, are you ready to create your own? If you’re still on the fence, consider these benefits:

  • Faster loading times
  • Improved user experiences
  • Downloadable data
  • Mobile app usage and consumer satisfaction
  • Massive decrease in the size of the saved device storage space


With the possibilities of better-looking, stable, and more secure web applications on the horizon, PWAs are paving the way for progressive solutions for all types of businesses.

However, as with anything worth developing, it’s important to consider your budget and project specifications before jumping headlong into a new project.

Before acting on your ideas, consult with a team of development experts to see if a PWA is right for your business. Building your own apps can be a bumpy ride if you don’t know what common mistakes to avoid.

With the right vision and support, you’ll be launching your unique app successfully in no time.

Top Image Credit: cottonbros; pixel

Lesley Comeau

Lesley Comeau is an experienced marketer from Canada and provides copywriting content for Scopic – a software development and digital marketing company. With employees from all over the world, the company’s various projects provide him with challenging yet rewarding work.

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