Hi, I’m Maxime, CTO here at Lexicon. Among other services, we’re a web app development agency in Bangkok. We build websites and digital transformation-enabling apps for many of Thailand’s most well-known organizations.
While meeting with clients and potential clients alike, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is: Do I need a mobile app? The answer I usually give is, yes, well, kind of. It really depends on the size and complexity of your product or service.
Let me start by quoting some data on the use of apps.
- According to Idea Usher, the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 3.8 billion in 2021, and mobile apps are projected to generate $935 billion in revenue by 2023.
- The use of web apps is on the rise. According to App Annie, mobile web usage increased by 20% globally in 2020, with users spending an average of 4.2 hours per day on mobile web browsers.
- In a survey conducted by Clutch, 70% of small businesses said they use mobile apps or plan to build one in the future.
- A study by Google found that 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load, underscoring the importance of fast-loading web apps.
- A study by Ipsos found that 90% of all mobile sessions are spent in apps, with just 10% spent on mobile web browsing. However, the same study found that users are more likely to visit a mobile website first before downloading an app.
To be honest, there is a common misconception about what an app is. We default to thinking about mobile apps, like Agoda, Grab, Foodpanda, or Shopee, which can be found on Google Play or App Store.
These are the most commonly downloaded apps and the ones that have a permanent place on the mobile phones of most people here in Thailand.
For these companies, an app absolutely makes sense. They have large budgets and teams, there’s a lot of customer traffic and sales volume, and they need purchases to happen within seconds.
But maintaining an app on a third-party app store requires a lot of time, effort and adapting to ever-changing regulations and iterations of their operating software. What’s more, people tend to not download so many apps on their phones aside from the living essentials: food, transport, banking, social media and dating.
So what’s the solution?
To be honest, most companies don’t need an app in the app store. And this is especially true of almost all B2B companies. The maintenance and development costs are just unlikely to deliver any kind of return on investment.
In my experience, a web app is the right solution for most clients’ needs. It has many of the same functionalities as a mobile app but for a fraction of the price.
Visually, mobile apps and web apps look very similar, but web apps function, ultimately, within a browser. That means that the same app can be used on any web browser whether it’s on desktop, Android or Apple devices.
To help you to imagine what a web app is, think of the ease of using Gmail in your browser. It has the functionality of an app but is seamlessly integrated with your normal browsing experience. So much so that you hardly even noticed its functionalities until I just mentioned them right now.
Gmail is probably the best known example around. But another good example is the work we did at Lexicon for the British Club. By turning an email and phone call-based manual booking process into a web app, the club has experienced massive increases in efficiency and user satisfaction while saving the cost of maintaining an in-store app.
If you’d like to learn more about what a web app could do for your business, get in touch. Our web app development agency in Bangkok is here to help.
About the Author
Maxime Schmitt is CTO at Lexicon over 15 years of experience as a software developer with a specialism in developing progressive web applications. Maxime is a leader of the British Chamber of Commerce Digital Technology Committee and a regular guest speaker on web applications.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia. As well as integrated tech solutions, they also help tell clients’ stories through social media, branding and video production.