The Thing About React Native...

Ariel Ariel
9/10/21

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #78 - Where's All that Money Coming From?. Check out the full article for more insights.


Speaking of development... Yesterday we published some numbers around the usage of non-native frameworks React Native and Flutter, which took Twitter by storm and (re)started the general debate of whether non-native app development is the future.

The short answer is: Maybe.

First, let's look at the numbers behind a few more popular non-native frameworks, Unity and Cordova.

When adding up all the apps that use React Native, Flutter, Cordova, and Unity, we a much different picture than by just looking at one. I know non-native frameworks as much of a religion as preferring the native alternative, but for the sake of analysis I'll add them up.

When we do that, we see that on the App Store, 10% of apps and games are non-native. On Google Play that number more than doubles to 25%.

Surprised? Don't be.

The benefit of non-native frameworks, of build-once-deploy-everywhere, is the kind of thing every developer would want if it were possible. Why? Because for all the opportunities the stores offer, success isn't merely a result of how you code your app (or game). It wasn't before and it isn't now.

Right now non-native frameworks can't offer a smooth experience for all types of apps, but they can for a bunch. That's why TikTok and Instagram use React Native in production.

The real challenge, and the thing that will make-or-break the future of non-native development, in my opinion, is the tools around it. The frameworks are evolving fast to get as close as they can to native performance and in their journey also change a lot. Those changes make it hard to build tools and maintain packages that the masses can use, and that's making some dislike native development.

But, that will eventually (and inevitably) slow down, bringing stability to those developers that stuck around long enough.

According to our SDK Intelligence, 416K developers have at least one app built in one of these frameworks. This number suggests enough will stick around. It's not a question of "if" but "when".

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

Are you a Journalist? You can get access to our app and market intelligence for free through the Appfigures for Journalists program. Contact us for more details.

All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.


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