20 Impressive API Economy Statistics

Tech moves fast. It also employs its own technical jargon, which evolves quickly. It can be hard to keep up with the API industry, as a result, in light of these realities.

Even worse, many of the most exciting, revolutionary innovations in the API industry aren’t that flashy or noticeable. Adopting the OpenAPI specification might not be compelling enough to grab headlines at Forbes. If you’re a developer, on the other hand, you’ll know these shifts could be as significant as the transition from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Revolution.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have the time to read every whitepaper and industry report that crosses our desk. To help you out, we’ve put together 20 API statistics to offer an overview of the industry’s current state, so you can set your goals and create your business strategy for the coming year!

1. Over 90% Of Developers Use APIs

In 2020, Slashdata published their 19th Developer Economics Survey, which offers several granular insights into how developers use APIs. According to Slashdata, nearly 90% of developers are using APIs in some capacity. They break it down even further, finding:

  • 69% use third-party APIs
  • 20% use internal or private APIs

The report also delves into which industries use APIs most heavily and for what application.

2. Developers Spend 30% of Their Time Coding APIs

29.5% of API developers’ time is spent programming and coding APIs, according to a statista report on time allocation of application programming interface (API) tasks worldwide as of 2020. This is almost double the second most time-consuming task, manually debugging code, which clocks in at 17%.

Both of these statistics reveal the necessity of tools like API testing and no-code or low-code programming environments. The more time you can shave off of unnecessary tasks, the more time you’ll have to spend on creating better APIs and building your business.

3. Broken APIs Are Rare for 60% of Consumers

According to a statista report on the frequency of API breakages and changes worldwide as of 2020, by API category, around 60% of API users report their APIs malfunctioning too infrequently to mention. Of these, 55.8% use internal APIs, 60.4% employ external APIs, and 61.2% use third-party APIs. Only roughly 2% of API users report having APIs breaking on a daily basis.

Postman’s State of API report found similar outcomes around API reliability. 4 out of 5 developers and API professionals indicated that less than 25% of their changes fail. Only 1% have their changes fail more than 75% of the time.

API-first development reduces the possibility of failure even more. Only 13% of developers using an API-first development model report failures happening more than 25% of the time.

4. Travel Data Is a Top Integration Need

Every year, RapidAPI updates its list of the top 50 most popular APIs. And in 2021, Skyscanner Flight Search API was listed as the most popular API. Skyscanner has ranked #1 on RapidAPI for several years running.

RapidAPIs’ Top 50 posts remain a valuable barometer of the API industry; however, they’re no golden rule. If we look to other directories, we see slightly different adoption rates. For example, ProgrammableWeb’s most trafficked APIs span categories such as social media, geolocation, and weather, well before travel.

5. There Are 46 Million Postman Collections

Every year, Postman publishes their State of the API Report, and the 2021 report charted a meteoric rise in API adoption.

To create a snapshot of the API industry, they use their own API Collections as a stand-in for API requests, in general. Beginning in July 2006, when there were fewer than a million API calls, Postman Collections had grown to more than 46 million collections as of January 2021. The rise of microservices and the adoption of cloud technology are likely contributors to this increase.

You can learn more in our deep dive into the 2021 State Of The API report.

6. API Management Market Valued at $5.1 Billion by 2023

According to MarketsandMarkets, the API management market is projected to be worth $5.1 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 32.9%.

They also break down API management growth by region. North America is leading the pack, followed by Europe and then APAC.

7. 91% of Organizations Had An API Security Incident in 2020

API investment and adoption aren’t the only things rising quickly in the API sector. So are issues related to cybersecurity. Salt Security indicates that over 91% of organizations using APIs had an incident related to API security in 2020. They charted an alarming 348% increase in malicious API traffic in just six months.

Clearly, API security is an issue we all need to be keeping an eye on in 2021!

8. There Are 24,000+ APIs On ProgrammableWeb

There are bunches of different Public API directories out there, as we recently discussed in our deep dive into API directories, but ProgrammableWeb remains the biggest and most well-known. At present, ProgrammableWeb indicates over 24,000 public APIs currently listed on their directory.

While some of these listings may be defunct, it’s still a useful approximation of how many APIs are out there, though, and well worth a look, especially if you’re searching for APIs by category.

9. We Charted 8 Major API-Centric Fundraisers In 2021

Digital transformation has been an important buzzword in tech sectors for over a decade. API Evangelist first defined the API Economy as far back as 2010. Things reached a tipping point in the wake of COVID-19, though, with APIs playing an essential role.

Consider Twilio as a representative of the shifting winds. Twilio has been around since the launch of the iPhone. Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, they’ve since gone public and achieved unicorn status. They’re even making acquisitions themselves, having recently purchased a $3.2 billion acquisition.

APIs are not just for tech companies — they’re garnering VC interest. In a recent article, we examined eight major fundraising rounds in 2021, including Postman, RapidAPI, Moesif, Skyflow, and others.

10. There Are Over 2 Million API Repositories On GitHub

GitHub is the place for code. Nearly every programmer or organization putting out digital products maintains some sort of presence on GitHub. With this in mind, GitHub might yield the most realistic overview of how widely APIs are used, as well as by whom and for what purpose.

At the moment, there are over 2 million API-related repositories on GitHub, ranging from HackerNews’ official API to contact tracing for COVID-19. One of them is even our very own weather app demo, which we posted to illustrate how to develop an API-consuming web app.

11. More Than 93% Of Communications Service Providers Use OpenAPI

OpenAPI’s premise is simple, but its implications are profound. To put it simply, OpenAPI offers a standardized format to build your APIs. As far as the implications, just think about the revolutionary impact of Henry Ford and the Industrial Revolution compared to the world of handmade goods that came before it.

With that in mind, it’s little surprise that over 93% of communications service providers (CSP) adopt OpenAPI. While almost everybody is philosophically aligned around more standardization, convincing those holding the purse strings remains a different story.

12. Open Banking to Have 130 Million Users by 2024

Financial services are some of the largest adopters of API-related technology. This has been true for some time, but the trend got a nitro boost during the pandemic when nearly everybody needed to switch to virtual payments.

In the wake of this transition, Open Banking is one of the hot button topics in the API industry in 2021. Over 132.2 million users are expected to have converted to Open Banking by 2024. This trend will have profound implications on API security as well, no doubt, so expect to hear more about that in the coming years.

13. Healthcare APIs Are Growing By 6.3% CAGR

If there’s one industry that’s had to pivot even more intensely during COVID-19, it’s the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers were already finding new and innovative ways to integrate APIs into their workflow. The Coronavirus kicked that acceleration into high gear, as healthcare providers found themselves overworked and having to navigate confusing and often dangerous health restrictions.

Healthcare APIs have exploded in light of these shifts, with medical companies adopting APIs for everything from quickly transferring patient data to accepting payments. Experts predict these changes will continue for years, even when the pandemic ends.

14. Cloud Automation Will Become a $623.3 Billion Industry By 2023

The rise of cloud-based technology is one of the main drivers of API adoption. So when it’s reported that cloud automation will be worth $623.3 billion by 2023, you can rest assured that web API usage will continue to spread like wildfire, as well.

15. 83% of All Internet Traffic Belongs to API-Based Services

The internet security company Akamai publishes a yearly report on the current state of the Internet Security industry. According to one of the most recent surveys, over 83% of all web traffic currently comes from some form of API.

This raises issues around cybersecurity, of course. If you want to learn some ways you can shore up your API security, we discuss techniques in this article.

16. GraphQL Is Used By 22.5% of API Developers

GraphQL, the API query language developed by Facebook, is one of the fastest-rising frameworks out there. GraphQL adoption increased by 400% in one year, according to a recent RapidAPI Survey. Industry analysts predict that number could rise to 30% to 50% in the next 3 to 4 years.

This comes with its own API security issues. GraphQL is still sometimes susceptible to broken object-level authorization, which is the number one API vulnerability. Make sure to address that if you’re working with GraphQL.

17. 93.4% of API Developers Are Still Using REST

There’s been a proliferation of new API formats and architectures in recent years. However, REST remains the most prevalent API architecture style by far, with a staggering 93.4% adoption rate.

It seems Roy Fielding knew what he was talking about when designing an architecture for longevity.

18. Walgreens Customers Spend 600% More Online Than In-Store

We all know the usefulness of APIs in traditional business capacities. They’re the links in the chains of our telecommunication services, financial software, and remote collaboration tools. APIs can generate revenue for your business in other more surprising ways, however.

Walgreens found that by opening up their APIs to allow customers to print photos from their photos and digital devices, they created a whole new revenue stream with countless options for suggestive selling and upselling and other innovative marketing opportunities.

19. 65% of Companies Are Accelerating Their Digital Transformation Due To The Pandemic

Much of the world was already shifting towards virtualization long before the complications brought on by COVID-19. Suffice it to say, this global pandemic quickly shifted things from optional luxuries to must-haves.

It’s little surprise that 65% of organizations have accelerated their digital transformation journeys during the pandemic, according to Apigee’s most recent State Of The API Economy report.

20. 56% Of Developers Report APIs Help Them Develop Better Products

According to the State Of The API Economy report, 56% of developers find APIs help build better digital products. They also feel that APIs:

  • Accelerate Innovation (52%)
  • Integrate Systems (40%)
  • Create Business Value (36%)
  • Are Products Themselves (22%)

API Statistics: Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two reading our API statistics roundup. Hopefully, we’ve presented a bigger picture of what other developers are working on, their current priorities, and what they’re struggling with. Now you can spend the time you’d otherwise have invested in digging through press releases on building better APIs, developing your business, and delivering world-class customer service!