The ecommerce industry has evolved since Magento was first released over a decade ago. In 2008, shoppers visited stores on desktop machines. They were tolerant of slow-loading pages and complicated checkouts because ecommerce itself was a novelty. Apple released the first iPhone just a few months earlier, and smartphones were nowhere near as sophisticated or ubiquitous as they later became.
Today, over half of all web traffic is mobile. In many stores, most purchases are made from mobile devices. Shoppers search on mobile and expect to be able to buy on mobile too. They demand a fast, pleasant, and uncomplicated user experience. Progressive Web Apps are the latest attempt to bridge the divide between the web and mobile and to improve the experience of mobile shoppers.
Traditionally, ecommerce stores such as Magento were designed to be monolithic applications that ran entirely on the server. The back-end was on the server, and the interface was generated on the server before being sent to the browser.
In recent years, as mobile browsers have improved, interface functionality has gradually been moved into the browser. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the logical culmination of this process, separating the front-end from the back-end entirely. Magento was an early mover in the PWA space, and today offers one of the most sophisticated and developer-friendly platforms for building and deploying Progressive Web Apps for ecommerce.