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Cost Comparison Between PWA & Website Development

Cost Comparison Between PWA & Website Development. Consumer buying behavior has changed continuously in recent years as a result of technological improvements. In response to such movements, the businesses working in E-commerce industry has to do everything it could so as not to be eliminated. Implementing AI, chatbots, image search, and the latest technology – PWA are some of their efforts. PWA development is catching more attention of the insiders, especially those who are considering what to invest in: a PWA or a website.

This blog will give you a closer look at these two popular directions for an online store and clarify the difference in their cost.

What Are Core Differences Between A PWA & A Website?

A PWA is an advanced type of website that mimics the appearance and feel of a mobile application. It takes advantage of modern web technologies and design patterns to deliver a dependable, fast, and engaging app-like user experience.

Like any mobile apps from an app store, PWAs can send notifications to users’ devices, work offline, and so on. At the same time, it is searchable on the Internet via search engines like any conventional webs.

In other words, PWA can be considered a perfect combination of native apps and websites’ features. Therefore, it seems to outweigh traditional websites in almost all aspects. This, to some extent, explains why PWA development cost is more expensive than that of a website.

PWA vs Website Development: Solutions & Cost Comparisons

This blog will contrast the costs of Progressive Web App development and website development by their available solutions.

More particularly, PWAs and websites share two development solutions in common. Both can be custom-built or be developed by using off-the-shelf themes.

However, due to the intricacy of the PWA development process compared to the counterpart’s, a price differential is unavoidable.

Theme Application Solution

Regards the theme application solution, we will divide it into multiple phases and compare the associated costs for PWA and the website in each stage.

1/ Buying ready-made PWA/ website theme

  • Website: $0-$200

Building a website has long been a standard option for online stores, leading to the diversity of E-commerce website template choices.

Those themes have different cost ranges but are low-cost in general. Free E-commerce templates can also be found with ease.

Besides, website themes provide both a ready-to-use design and several essential E-commerce functions.

  • PWA: $0-$2,000

Because PWA is a new technology, the number of PWA themes is much less than that for a website. Overall, PWA templates’ prices can range from $0 to around $2,000.

Besides E-commerce functions similar to a website’s, a PWA theme owns app-like functions (push notifications, offline working mode, etc.) and advanced functions (live chat support, layered navigation, etc.) in premium versions.

However, whether you want to build a website or a PWA, using open-source themes (free ones) is not a recommendation because they tend to cause various code issues and have unattractive designs.

2/ Set up selected theme

  • Website: $100-$500

Setting up a theme only requires the installation and a simple configuration. Thus, you can have your website theme set up for merely $100-$500.

  • PWA: $0-$1,000

Surprisingly, setting up a Progressive Web App theme sometimes may start from zero.

The majority of premium PWA themes in the marketplace at the moment often offer their users this service for free. Spoken in another way, it is usually in the house when you purchase those themes package.

In contrast, the free PWA templates are always going with a pricey installation fee of up to $1,000.

3/ Customize theme design

  • Website: ~$2,000

For a website, the design customization fee is generally up to $2,000, depending on the complexity of the changes you want to make on the chosen site template.

  • PWA: $1,000 – $2,000

PWA theme’s design sometimes may take less time to be customized than web theme’s due to the PWA’s flexible structure (the storefront is not dependent on the web backend thanks to APIs).

Whereas, for web templates, one part of the frontend goes hand in hand with many related features in the backend, meaning that such editing is a real effort.

As a result, the PWA design customization cost can be the same or even lower. In the foreseeable future, upgrading its design may be more convenient and faster than upgrading a web design.

4/ Customize theme functions

Either PWA or website themes have several fundamental built-in functions. Despite that, you can still add more features by developing custom functions or installing additional extensions.

  • Website: $1,000 – $3,000

To make the extensions work smoothly on the site, developers will need to install those and probably customize some parts of the theme.

On average, it takes 3-5 hours for setting up a plugin. The more extensions you want to have, the more significant amount of time and money you have to pay.

When the customers prefer developing custom functions, the total expense can be higher.

  • PWA: $3,000 – $7,000

Unlike developing unique functions or installing extensions on websites, creating custom ones or making extensions compatible with the PWA storefront needs developing extra APIs.

That’s why the cost of upgrading the theme functionalities for PWAs is always higher than that of websites.

In brief, the total cost of a PWA theme ($5,000 – $15,000) can be twice higher than that of a website theme ($3,000 – $7,000).

Custom-built Solution

If you have unique business needs that cannot be met with ready-made templates, you may find this solution to be the most appropriate.

Below is the cost comparison between PWA and the website’s bespoke development. To make things clear, we also split the development process into different stages and make side-by-side comparisons.

1/ Design

  • Website

By and large, E-commerce websites will have a design mainly used for desktop and a responsive version for mobile screens. Nevertheless, some online stores don’t even have a mobile-compatible design.

The developers have to modify the desktop design themselves to create another version for mobiles. Overall, the web design services might charge you up to $3,000.

  • PWA

PWA pays excellent attention to mobile design and often has a separate design for mobile devices, not just a responsive design. For this reason, prepare the design for PWA will take more time.

However, if you only require a responsive design, the time and cost for a PWA design are similar to a standard web design. 

In general, the PWA’s design cost may range from $3,000 to $5,000 on average.

2/ Functions

  • Website: $5,000 – $20,000

The number and the complication of required advanced functions decide the amount of money you will have to pay the developers.

  • PWA: $10,000 – $50,000

The expense for PWA functions includes developing custom code and the APIs, which means more time and effort are needed compared to web functions development.

In total, the expense of custom PWA and custom website development is at least $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

To Sum Up

Whatever the solution is, given that PWA is more powerful, its development absolutely will be at a more significant expense. In addition, because the number of PWA developers on the market is much fewer than that of the regular website, the cost per hire is also higher.

The point is, depending on your desired cost and demands, you need to strike a balance between a web and a PWA. Speaking from the bottom, in terms of features and efficiency,  the cost per hire is also higher.

So, have you made your decision?


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May Name is Mahasin Reja, Village: Birkaya, Post: Birkaya, Bagmara, Rajshahi.

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