WP Engine, the WordPress technology company, announced the results of a new, first-of-its-kind research study examining the combined global economy for WordPress, which was estimated at $596.7bn in 2020, and is expected to grow to $635bn by the end of 2021.
The study examined both the economic value of the WordPress ecosystem and the social impact of this ever-expanding community of open source developers, agencies and users.
To put the global WordPress economy in context, if WordPress were a country, its economy would rank 39th in the world according to an IMF list of countries by GDP.
The estimated 2021 economy facilitated by WordPress is comparable to that generated by the Apple App Store at $643bn, and if it were equivalent to the market cap of a company it would come in at no. 10 on the list of companies by market capitalisation (as of May 13th), bigger than that of the world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla at $550.72bn.
The research, commissioned by WP Engine and carried out in the U.S., UK and Australia by Dr. Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation in the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths University of London and Vanson Bourne, was undertaken to assess the economic value and the social impact of WordPress. It included a comprehensive review of academic and industry literature, including adjusting OECD economic indicators for digital economies as well as complementary primary data and analysis of economic value through industry valuations and projections from surveys of WordPress Economy research group members, 400 businesses and 400 WordPress end users.
The study also brought together an incredible, broad group of more than 100 collaborators representing a cross section of the various, dynamic aspects of the WordPress ecosystem: hosts, agencies, plugin and theme providers—all businesses which derive revenue in some way from WordPress and helped provide guidance on the study.
“This groundbreaking research shows the definitive leadership role WordPress plays in the global digital economy,” said Heather Brunner, Chairwoman and CEO of WP Engine. “A $596.7bn economy is such a validation of the value that WordPress, its ecosystem and its robust community bring to the world. In the future, as WordPress looks to cross 50% of the web we see it playing an even larger role with individuals and businesses of all sizes as they connect, collaborate and accelerate their business growth through this incredible open source platform.”
“As no reliable benchmark valuation of the WordPress economy currently exists, we needed to innovate a methodology and solution for arriving at a reliable valuation,” said Dr. Chris Brauer Director of Innovation in the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, University of London. “In this process we created a model that not only accounted for WordPress’ financial value, but also measured the intangible contribution from the open source community and external factors that are beyond the market’s control such as the pandemic. Our interdisciplinary research team of social scientists, statistical modellers and economists used a mixed methods approach to analyse the value of WordPress resulting in an innovative socio-economic model that accounted for user-specific data that reflects WordPress’ financial value, intangible contribution and the situational contexts of external factors.”