It’s A Fact: Freemium WordPress Plugins Outlive Free Ones

Last year, around this time, I was tinkering with what has now become While doing my market research, I stumbled upon the Freemius blog, more precisely upon this blog post by Vova, where he explained how he sized the market for WordPress plugins at 1 billion per year.

It was the first time that I saw a proper market sizing exercise on this subject and it was very refreshing to see some numbers.

Fast forward to today and here I am, writing a guest post on the Freemius blog about, well, the plugins market. Who would have thought?

How did this happen?

This post is a result of a discussion I had with Vova a few weeks back. Vova wanted to understand if the amount of plugins having a freemium strategy was increasing, while I was interested in identifying “freemium” plugins in order to add this as a filter on the Addendio search engine.

Definition of Freemium

Let’s be clear about the definition from the start: we classified as “freemium”, plugins having either paid add-ons, a premium version or service (e.g. premium support). You may disagree with the definition, but it’s important that you will be aware of how it was defined when examining the data we present.

After a quick brainstorm with Vova I pulled out some data from the repository and I could identify with reasonable confidence a list of plugins currently proposing premium features. It’s not a bullet proof methodology, but we did proper sample checking and I am reasonably confident about the quality.

Freemium Plugins in the repository

Let’s start by answering Vova’s question:

Are we seeing more plugins with a freemium strategy in the repository?

In absolute numbers the answer is a clear “yes”, as you can see from this graph. This is of course influenced by the fact that more and more plugins are being added to the repository each year (around 7,600 in 2015), so it’s essential that we also check the evolution in terms of relative numbers .

The same holds true in terms of percentages. As you can see from this graph the percentage of freemium plugins in the repository is increasing. A constant increase of up to 10% in 2015. I did remove 2016 from the analysis, as I did not want to draw any conclusions on just 3 months of data.

After this initial analysis I decided to look at the survival rate of free plugins vs freemium ones. The question I wanted an answer to was the following:

Do plugins with a freemium strategy have a better life expectancy than the average free plugin in the repository?

Continue reading this article on the Freemius Blog

Originally published at on April 19, 2016.

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