1. Tentative Consumer Behavior
Unlike native mobile apps, consumers don’t understand how HTML5 apps work. Native mobile apps are simple to download, easy to use, and the market at large has comfortably adopted them. Conversely, consumers have been tentative to download HTML5 apps. They require a separate process to download, they are riddled with bugs, and thus far they have not been largely embraced.
2. Search and Discovery is Challenging
Native apps can easily be searched and found at their respective platform app stores. HTML5 apps however don’t have this transparency; they must be distributed through the open web. While there are channels to find these apps, such as Facebook’s App Center, the average consumer doesn’t know about or actively use these sites. This makes finding HTML5 apps extremely difficult, and creates a ceiling on the number of possible app users.
3. No Wide-Spread Standard for Development
Currently, HTML5 apps are complex and intricate. For the user experience to function ideally there must be precise cooperation between all browsers (even older browsers like Internet Explorer 6 and 7) and mobile device types. This applies to building new apps as well as making updates. While there are tools that aid in this effort, currently there is no standard for development. This creates a wide gap between what is necessary and what is actual, leaving room for improvement before HTML5 apps can function as intended.
4. HTML5 Apps Lack Functionality
Because of the lack of wide-spread support, HTML5 apps lack a great deal of functionality. The fact is HTML5 apps have simply not evolved enough to rival native apps. As an example, HTML5 apps cannot communicate with a mobile device’s GPS, omitting crucial wayfinding capabilities. With the elevated importance of the overall user experience, it makes little sense to invest in a platform that doesn’t deliver a full range of functionality.
5. HTML5 Apps Are Difficult to Monetize
Maybe most significant, HTML5 apps are far from generating revenue. Aside from the small market share and lack of a central app store, HTML5 apps also lack an advertising platform and a formal payment structure.
Native apps have a well-developed, extensive advertising platform with an established market and a plethora of players from all fronts. HTML5 apps lack a standardized advertising structure altogether, making a marketing investment in this arena risky any untested.
HTML5 apps also lack a formal payment structure. Native apps can be purchased within a few clicks in the app store. Consumers trust their information in this environment, and enjoy the immediate convenience of simple purchases. HTML5 apps don’t have a standardized payment structure, and until they develop one, consumers will be reluctant to make purchases within these apps.
Considering these aspects, HTML5 has a lot to prove before it can make a run at replacing native app powerhouses like iOS and Android. Maybe this is the reason why the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) doesn’t expect a full HTML5 implementation until 2022. Even then, there is much to debate as to whether HTML5 will be a better alternative.