Financial, eCommerce, Enterprise API Categories See Big Growth

Editor's note: Be sure to check out our research on the overall growth of Web APIs since 2005. At the time of writing, this is the most recent data we have, but check the research page to see if we have a more updated article. We will be continually updating the overall growth chart with other charts getting updated on a less frequent basis.

At ProgrammableWeb, we have been tracking APIs in our directory since 2005. One of the cool things this allows us to do is to look at both short term and long term trends in the API space. One interesting view of our data is to look at the categories that are experiencing the most growth in our directory. We chose to look at the last five years (from the end of 2011 to the end of 2016) as that represents nearly half of the API directory's life. Just as with the most represented categories, this first graph shows the categories that have added the most APIs, across both primary and secondary.

Fastest growing API categories - Primary or secondary category

Much like the most represented categories, we show the Tools, Social, Financial and eCommerce were the categories that experienced the most growth over the last few years.

The last few years have also seen more data than ever being produced by our devices. Many solutions have been introduced to help analyze, visualize and otherwise make sense of this data not to mention leverage it in a meaningful way. APIs have been an effective way for organizations to realize value from their data without having to hire a data scientist. Thus it’s no surprise to see the Data category as one of the big risers of the last few years.

We can limit our data to show the fastest growing categories when they are listed as the primary category only.

Fastest Growing API Categories when used as Primary Category

Much like the most represented categories, we see that the top ten looks very similar. One of the fastest growing categories was the Enterprise category. This category emerged as a result of the number of enterprise software vendors looking to engage their customers via API in addition to, or in replacement of traditional user interfaces. The growth of the category more than likely, in law of supply and demand fashion, reflects those customers' interest in API-driven approaches both from a consumption and provisioning point of view. As enterprises better understand the power of APIs, it is natural for them to build APIs for their own internal consumption. This is evident in the various acquisitions, such as Google acquiring Apigee, Mashery being acquired by Tibco, and Red Hat purchasing 3scale among others; all cases in which the buyers primarily service enterprises.

Lastly we wanted to look at the fastest growing API categories for the last year’s worth of data.

Fastest growing API categories in the last 12 months - Primary or secondary category

Here we see further proof of the growing importance of Data related APIs. There have been 694 APIs added in the last five years that have been categorized under Data. Of those, nearly 30% have been added in the last 12 months.

If you are an API provider, adding a listing in our directory is a great way to improve the discoverability of your APIs and raise awareness of your program. If you would like to include your APIs in our directory, you can use the link below.

Wendell Santos is the editor at You can reach him at Connect to Wendell on Twitter at @wendell78 or Google+.

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