TLDR; Native apps can drive more user engagement, have better performance and be easier to maintain.
- The app stores provide a monetisation platform for purchase, in-app purchase and subscriptions. Yes, they take a percentage, but this is still a good deal for most businesses.
- Users are searching for products in the app stores. If you’re not there, they won’t find you. You can also make use of ASO (App Store optimisation, c.f. SEO) to drive more traffic to your app.
- Apps are automatically placed on the homepage, making it easy for users to use your product or services.
- Once a native app is installed on a device, you don’t have to compete (quite) as hard for the user’s attention. If you rely on search engines to bring them back to your product, you have to beat all the other distractions that are fighting for their attention every time they use your service.
- Apps let you send notifications to bring users back to your product and drive more engagement. On iOS, native apps are the only way you can do this.
- Apps allow easier integration with native hardware, such as camera, sensors, and bluetooth.
- Native apps perform less well — there’s a browser between the functionality and the metal (i.e., the hardware), making it slower. To see this in action, look at any popular app, e.g., Facebook and compare the native app to the web app.
- Native apps have fewer compatibility issues. Getting web apps to work, and continue to work, across all the different browsers that run on all the different devices, requires expensive maintenance.