Hybrid Mobile App Development is the Key to Greater ROI
Sector: Digital Product, Technology
Author: Nisarg Mehta
Date Published: 03/24/2023
Hybrid mobile app development has been around for more than a decade, with the first hybrid frameworks appearing in the late 2000s. The concept of hybrid apps was developed to provide a way to build mobile apps that can work on multiple platforms using a single codebase instead of developing separate apps for each platform.
Over the years, hybrid app development has evolved significantly, with new frameworks and tools emerging to simplify the development process. In recent years, frameworks like Flutter and React Native have gained popularity due to their ease of use, performance, and ability to create native-like apps.
Several popular apps have been built using hybrid app development frameworks, including:
- UberEats – UberEats, a popular food delivery app, is built using React Native.
- Instagram – Instagram, a social media app, is built using a combination of native and hybrid technologies, including React Native.
- Walmart – Walmart, a retail giant, has built its mobile app using React Native.
- Discord – Discord, a popular communication app for gamers, is built using React Native.
- Coinbase – Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, is built using React Native.
- Pacifica – Pacifica, a mental health app, is built using React Native.
What makes the hybrid development approach popular is its ability to ensure a higher ROI as compared to native app development.
How Hybrid Delivers a Better ROI than Native
Every IT endeavor goes through the test of return on investment. Given the high cost of development for mobile app development projects, IT leaders and companies need to find the right balance between app functionalities and development costs.
Hybrid apps are a winner in this category as they deliver native-like functionalities (in some cases even better than native apps) while keeping the cost low. Here are some parameters that make hybrid apps ROI winners.
Saves Development Time
Reducing the scope of a project from two codebases to one can have a significant impact on app development and maintenance time. In fact, it is logical to expect a time savings of at least 50% by leveraging a single codebase for hybrid app development.
This allows developers to save time and effort that would otherwise be spent on hiring separate developers, researching different libraries and APIs, and maintaining and updating multiple versions of the same app.
Additionally, hybrid app development reduces the need to design and run multiple test cases, further saving time and resources.
Overall, hybrid app development presents a cost-effective and streamlined approach to app development that can help businesses save time and resources while delivering high-quality mobile apps.
Reduce Hiring Costs
The 2019 Stack Overflow Survey revealed that less than 7% of developers have the necessary skills to develop apps using the native toolkits and languages for Apple and Google platforms. Due to the scarcity of native mobile developers, it can be assumed that salaries for these professionals are higher than average. If you don’t have a native developer in-house, you should expect to allocate an additional 20% of year 1 costs towards hiring and onboarding.
Furthermore, since many native developers specialize in just one platform, you’ll likely need more than one developer to complete a project for both iOS and Android. This means you should double your minimum team size estimation.
Keep Projects Feasible
The cost advantage of developing with the hybrid instead of native could determine whether a project is approved or not.
Let’s assume a native mobile project with the following inputs:
- Expected benefit: $150,000 per year / $2,885 per week
- Initial time-to-market: 16 weeks
- Active maintenance: 8 weeks per year
- Team: Two native engineers at $150,000 per year each
- Labor costs: $3,000 per week
In this example, the native project would generate a profit of $24,640 per year over a three-year period, resulting in a return on investment of approximately 16%.
However, if we were to increase the active maintenance time to 12 weeks per year, the cost of native development would rise to $195,840 over the three-year period. This would result in a negative return on investment of -30%, making the project infeasible from a financial standpoint.
In contrast, building the app using hybrid development could potentially reduce development and maintenance costs, making the project more feasible even with increased maintenance time.
The hybrid approach offers a significant reduction in initial time-to-market by 50%, allowing us to launch our product in just 12 weeks instead of the previous 24 weeks.
Furthermore, we can expect ongoing maintenance costs to be reduced by 50% as well, resulting in only 7.5 weeks per year, freeing up valuable resources that can be utilized elsewhere.
Other Benefits of Hybrid Mobile App Development
Businesses keep building hybrid mobile apps as it enables them to operate across platforms with a single investment. Here are some key benefits of hybrid mobile apps:
Hybrid apps have the potential to scale better than native apps due to several reasons.
Secondly, hybrid apps can utilize cloud-based solutions, providing scalable resources, such as storage and computing power. This enables the app to handle increasing users and data without compromising performance.
Finally, hybrid apps can take advantage of the latest advancements in technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to provide personalized user experiences. These features require significant computational resources and data processing power, which can be easily achieved through cloud-based solutions and other scalable resources.
Easy to Fix and Maintain
In addition, web technologies allow for easier and more frequent updates. Changes can be made to the codebase and then deployed across all platforms simultaneously, making it easier to maintain consistency and fix issues quickly.
Another advantage of hybrid apps is the ability to use web development tools and frameworks like Flutter, which can streamline development and make it easier to fix issues. These tools often have built-in features for debugging and testing, allowing developers to identify and resolve problems more efficiently.
Furthermore, hybrid apps are often designed with modularity in mind, which means that individual components can be easily swapped out or updated without disrupting the entire application. This can make maintenance and updates easier and less risky.
Helps Tap a Wider Audience
Limiting your app to only one platform can significantly reduce your potential user base, as it excludes users on other operating systems. In today’s highly competitive market, targeting a single audience segment can severely limit your growth opportunities.
According to Statista, Android holds a dominant 71.8% share of the global market, while iOS follows closely behind with 27.6%, collectively accounting for around 99%. By opting for hybrid app development, you can expand your reach to a wider audience on both platforms and potentially grow your user base globally.
Hybrid apps can leverage caching techniques to store frequently accessed data on the device. This can reduce the amount of data that needs to be fetched from the server, resulting in smoother and faster performance, particularly in areas with slow or unreliable internet connections.
Additionally, hybrid apps can also use technologies like Service Workers, which allow them to function offline by storing a version of the app locally on the user’s device. This can provide users with access to some app features and data, even when they are not connected to the internet.
Offline access is important for users for several reasons:
- It can improve the user experience by allowing them to access the app’s features and data, even when they are in areas with no or low internet connectivity.
- It can provide users with greater flexibility and convenience, as they can continue to use the app and access their data, even when they are traveling or in areas where internet connectivity is limited.
- Offline access can help to reduce data usage and save costs for users who have limited data plans or who are roaming.
2023 Trends: Flutter and React Will Be the Prominent Technologies
As per Statista, Flutter and React Native are the top cross-platform mobile frameworks and will continue to be. Given the popularity, there will be an abundance of resources for these platforms, and therefore, most hybrid mobile app development projects will utilize the same.
Flutter, developed by Google, has gained significant traction in recent years due to its performance and ease of use. Flutter uses Dart programming language and has a customizable UI toolkit that allows developers to create visually appealing, fast, and responsive mobile apps.
Flutter also offers a hot reload feature that enables developers to make changes to the code and see the changes instantly on the app, making it faster and easier to build and test apps.
Additionally, Flutter has a growing community of developers, which has led to the development of several plugins and libraries that can be used to extend its functionality.
React Native has a large and active community of developers who contribute to its ecosystem, creating a wide range of tools and resources.