About 6 months ago, we published a comparison of eCommerce plugin usage based on statistics from BuiltWith.com. About a month after that, WordPress.org implemented their own active install tracking for free plugins hosted on WordPress.org, which gave even more insight into active plugin installations.
While neither of these sources is perfect, it’s neat to see data on installs and to view the change in data over time from these sources. There are discrepancies between the two, but we can probably assume that any errors in the data are consistent, meaning the trends that they show are still relevant even if the absolute numbers are not.
Let’s take a look at some statistics from BuiltWith 6 months later, as well as how they compare to statistics on usage from WordPress.org.
When the WordPress.org plugin tracking statistics were added, Post Status had great coverage of the update. Here are some important notes on how the number of active installations is tracked via WordPress.org:
- The numbers could include (and therefore inflate numbers) non-public (dev and staging environments) domains. According to Andrew Nacin, the team does exclude sites with “localhost”, “.dev”, “.local” and “other telltale signs of local development and staging sites, like IP addresses.”
- The numbers don’t include websites that have, via code, turned off [WordPress] update checks.
- Some data is making more sense as it is collected. Now that it’s a few months old, they are able to make better determinations about what is accurate and what is not.
It’s also worth noting that WordPress.org statistics may decrease in accuracy when millions of sites have the plugin installed:
…in fact you should know that in some instances, the team knows the data isn’t reporting properly, especially for plugins with more installs.
So for plugins with well beyond a million installs, they have reason to believe adoption may be different than what is reflected in the stats.
I’d like to add a couple things to these disclaimers, as there are some other factors that could inflate WordPress.org statistics:
- Staging sites – a lot of sites use staging sites to test out changes, which are duplicates of your live site, and thus they have the same plugins installed. Staging sites will still check in for updates with WordPress.org, so they may be counted as active installations even though they’re not actually in use.
- “Active” installs is not necessarily clear. Is there actually a way to know the plugin is active on the site when WordPress.org checks, or is it only including stats on sites that have the plugin on installed? For example, do these statistics include sites that have the plugin installed, but deactivated?
I’m sure there are other factors that can influence these statistics, but again, while they may be imperfect, we can probably assume they’ll be directionally correct over time.
The good part about BuiltWith statistics is that they can’t measure local sites or private staging sites, so statistics won’t be inflated due to these numbers. However, that doesn’t mean that BuiltWith statistics are accurate either.
For example, Brian (at Post Status) points out:
There are some instances, especially with plugins that are on the backend, or have limited front-end visibility, where the numbers don’t line up too well [between BuiltWith and WordPress.org].
Since BuiltWith scrapes the data from the website by looking at the frontend of the site, it may not detect everything in use. I think this is less of a problem with eCommerce plugins, as they’re prominently involved with the frontend of the site, but the fact that BuiltWith “estimates” is important.
This is also why I trust version comparisons from WordPress.org more than data from BuiltWith.
Data from WordPress.org shows (for the most part) higher installation numbers than data from BuiltWith, which is probably expected given the issues with each we pointed out above.
The border in this table divides plugins we’d originally tracked and ones we’ve added; the bottom part shows statistics on other plugins that weren’t tracked with BuiltWith, or the tracked data via BuiltWith couldn’t be broken out to relate to WordPress.
|Plugin||BuiltWith Total Sites||WordPress.org Total Sites|
|WooCommerce||663,153||over 1 million*|
|Easy Digital Downloads||20,572||40,000+|
|WP eStore||13,428||n/a (paid only)|
|WP EasyCart||not tracked||3,000+|
*Post Status had previously included a 1.2 million+ figure for WooCommerce, but WordPress.org now only shows 1 million+ for any plugin with over 1 million installations.
**only includes the free version of the plugin, not the pro version (as BuiltWith does).
***The statistics for Cart66 and Ecwid are included, but it should be noted that the BuiltWith statistics and WordPress.org are tracking different values. BuiltWith tracks all installations, and in the case of Ecwid, these could be non-WordPress sites. I’d trust the WordPress.org statistics more for these, as this number tracks the installs for the WP integration plugins for each, which better shows WordPress sites using these.
What I find more interesting is the change in these numbers to see growth or decline for each plugin. As we previously tracked site counts for many plugins via BuiltWith, we can compare the January BuiltWith numbers from June BuiltWith numbers.
|Plugin||January Site Count||June Site Count||Change|
|Easy Digital Downloads||13,813||20,572||+48.9%|
Overall, it’s great to see a huge increase in WordPress-powered eCommerce sites via BuiltWith. I’m not sure if BuiltWith just gets better at tracking as time goes on, and thus can track more WordPress eCommerce plugins, or if the 50% increase in WordPress eCommerce plugin usage is completely accurate.
Looking at individual plugins, I was blown away by the growth in WooCommerce and EDD over the past 6 months, but it’s great to see growth pretty much across the board.
While I don’t think marketshare numbers are as pertinent as growth over time, we’d included some in our last comparison, so I’ve included updates here as well as data from WordPress.org.
According to BuiltWith
key — WooCommerce (84.1%)
key — WP eCommerce (7.1%)
key — Easy Digital Downloads (2.6%)
key — Jigoshop (0.6%)
key — WP eShop (1.7%)
key — WP eStore (1.7%)
key — MarketPress (1.3%)
key — Shopp (0.9%)
According to WordPress.org
key — WooCommerce (87.8%)
key — WP eCommerce (5.1%)
key — Easy Digital Downloads (2.9%)
key — Jigoshop (0.7%)
key — WP eShop (0.7%)
key — Ecwid (0.7%)
key — MarketPress (0.5%)
key — Shopp (0.6%)
key — Cart66** (0.4%)
key — Exchange (0.2%)
key — WP EasyCart (0.2%)
**Includes count for both Cart66 Lite and Cart66 Cloud plugins.
Without WooCommerce – BuiltWith
This totals 125,662 sites counted.
key — WP eCommerce (44.3%)
key — Easy Digital Downloads (16.4%)
key — Jigoshop (3.7%)
key — WP eShop (10.9%)
key — WP eStore (10.7%)
key — MarketPress (8.0%)
key — Shopp (5.9%)
Easy Digital Downloads was previously at 12.7% in this comparison, but its eaten up another 3.7% in non-WooCommerce marketshare to rise to 16.4%. MarketPress was the only other plugin to increase its non-WooCommerce marketshare from January.
Without WooCommerce – WordPress.org
key — WP eCommerce (42.0%)
key — Easy Digital Downloads (24.0%)
key — Jigoshop (6.0%)
key — WP eShop (6.0%)
key — Ecwid (6.0%)
key — MarketPress (4.2%)
key — Shopp (4.8%)
key — Cart66** (3.5%)
key — Exchange (1.8%)
key — WP EasyCart (1.8%)
**Includes count for both Cart66 Lite and Cart66 Cloud plugins.
Unfortunately, using WordPress.org as a benchmark removes premium plugins from these statistics, which is why BuiltWith is still a very handy tool. Referencing the two sources over time is a great way to keep a pulse on the growth or decline of different plugins.
One thing I didn’t include here are stats on version usage for each plugin. WordPress.org now has some very cool stats on version usage that you can check out; for example, here’s the version usage for WooCommerce, which shows that about 80% of installs are using WooCommerce 2.2 or newer.
Six months later, I liked seeing how WordPress eCommerce as a whole has growth, as well as the huge leap in usage for Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce. Across the board, WordPress eCommerce plugin use has increased, and I think including WordPress.org statistics will give us better insight into these changes in the future.
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