The state of the eCommerce theme market heading into 2017

ThemeForest author eTheme takes a look at the state of the eCommerce theme market and what authors should be doing to cope with it in 2017.


I’m an elite author and have been selling on Envato Market for five years, specializing in eCommerce themes (Magento, Opencart, Shopify, Prestashop, osCommerce, Cs-Cart etc.) But over the last few years, on ThemeForest at least, it’s been becoming harder to do so.

In this article I aim to find out why by identifying which direction the market is moving, who its leaders are, and what us authors should doing to ensure our futures on it.

Here’s how the eCommerce market has evolved over the last two years.

These are the most popular items as of last week.

pop2016

By sales the leader in this area is Shopify at 34%. The leader by money earned is Magento at 47.7%. Opencart and Prestashop are at the lower end of these lists.

diagram2016

This data was take the week of November 8th 2016

Here’s what the sales of that same category looked like two years ago in August, 2014.

diagram2014

Comparing the two data sets we can make some conclusions:

  1. The size of the eCommerce market is the same as it was two years ago – $50K.
  2. Magento was the largest market by sales two years ago. But now Shopify has become the leader.
  3. Magento is still the leader by earned money because the price of Magento themes is the highest. But Magento is undergoing a downward trend when compared to Shopify.
  4. Opencart and Prestashop are losing sales and money.

We can also look at the Google Trends statistics for the above mentioned carts (Magento, Shopify, Opencart, Prestashop).

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-9-49-06-am

Combining the above mentioned data we can determine:

  1. The eCommerce market has been plateauing since 2010. It could be that the eCommerce niche has exhausted its potential for huge growth as was the case 6-7 years ago.
  2. Competition between the carts(CMS) leads to software’s complication for all members of the market and it is very important to keep the balance between technologies and functionality from on side and simplicity for the end user on the other side. Shopify and Magento are good examples. In early 2010 all eCommerce websites had a simple desktop structure. But nowadays eCommerce stores are powerful applications that process traffic from mobile devices, social networks etc.
  3. I think that the most interesting part of the struggle is in the future. What features are most needed? Price, functionality, simplicity, speed? We’ll find out as users vote with their wallets. 

This small analysis doesn’t cover statistics for a lot of other eCommerce solutions like Woocommerce and other plugins for WordPress, Virtuemart for Joomla, osCommerce, cs-cart, Drupal, AbanteCart, BigCommerce, 3Dcart and others. But my selection has been done for the most popular items according to ThemeForest most popular week category.

I don’t think there will be any sort of revolution in the eCommerce niche. Instead I predict it’ll be more of an evolution. This market has grown up and is now focussing on improving internal processes.

That should be the biggest takeaway for ThemeForest authors still looking to capture what’s left of the audience in the next few years. Get ready for the future, get ready to evolve. Continue improving your product listening to what the market wants, and you’ll continue to sustain a comfortable position in this maturing category.


Check out eTheme on ThemeForest

Feature image by Gajus-Images 
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