Social and Financial Among the Most Popular API Categories

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.

One of the more interesting views given by the directory is a look at what sectors are seeing the most growth in APIs. The first, most obvious thing to look at is which categories are most represented in the directory. One thing to note is that, for each API, our data model allows for one primary category as well as multiple secondary categories. When looking at the most popular categories, across both primary and secondary, we get the graph below.

Top ten most represented API categories - Based on Primary or Secondary category assignment

The data shown in the chart above is current through the end of April 2018. This is nearly the same top ten categories as the last time we looked at the data through the end of 2016 with the Payments category replacing Enterprise. While the categories haven't changed, the order certainly has. Financial is now the category with the most APIs listed with 1,600. This along with the appearance of Payments in our top ten is no surprise given what we learned from our look at the growth spikes for Finance related APIs.

Another big mover is the Data category. Data touches so many areas that are of increasing importance to organizations such as Analytics, Machine Learning, Open Data and Data Mining. Finding professionals with these skills though is not easy so naturally API providers have rushed in to fill the void. APIs across these categories have proliferated as organizations look to leverage the data that they create and collect. In fact we covered the most interesting Big Data and Analytics APIs of 2017.

The table below shows the top 20 API categories.

Number of APIs (as of April 2018)

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


Top ten most represented API categories - Primary category only

Once again we don't see a lot of change with only Telephony replacing the Reference category. With TwilioTrack this API being a long time leader in this category, more and more providers are seeing the value of offering communications infrastructure-as-a-service.

As mentioned, the makeup of the most popular categories hasn't changed much in the last year, but the order has with some categories seeing a great amount of growth. Stay tuned as we'll soon take a fresh look at those rapidly growing categories.

Be sure to read the next API article: Data, Financial, Analytics API Categories See Big Growth