African OTA Jumia Travel is seeing the benefits of building Progressive Web App (PWA) capabilities into its mobile platform.
Jumia Travel, formerly known as Jovago, launched its PWA at Google's Chrome Dev Summit last November, and the results so far are impressive, notably a 33% increase in conversions compared with its standard mobile platforms.
PWAs are designed to give a native app experience to users but are designed to work on slower connections while taking up less data and power. Africa is widely seen as a mobile-first market, despite the fact that 75% of mobile phone connections are via 2G.
The ability for Jumia's mobile site to work on 2G via PWAs is behind some impressive metrics, achieved in six months or so. As well as the conversion increase, Jumia says that the bounce rate has dropped by 50% and that the PWA version now has twelve times as many users as its native iOS and Android apps.
For users, the PWA version eats up five times less data and requires 25 times less storage space on the device.
Africa is very much an emerging market in terms of online travel. The disconnect between a mobile-first market operating mainly on 2G will be closed in the long term as infrastructure technologies improve.
Paul Midy, the CEO of Jumia Travels, sees PWAs as performing a vital role in setting up the long game. He said:
“Africa is a mobile-intensive market, we are just getting started, and believe that creating more conducive and friendly ways to experience mobile [using PWAs] is a great stride in meeting customer needs.”
Jumia Travel is part of Jumia Group, Africa's leading e-commerce group which has a range of Jumia-branded sites as well as travel, covering cars, property, jobs and classifieds, among others. It was formerly known as Africa Internet Group and was a joint venture founded in 2012 between Rocket Internet and telecoms firm Millicom.
In the first quarter of 2016 the group picked up €300 million in two funding rounds, adding Axa and Goldman Sachs to its line-up of backers and staking a claim to be Africa's first unicorn.
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