Shopify App Store Report [2019]

I've analysed 2,691 apps on the Shopify App Store. This is what I've found.

Shopify App Store Report [2019]

This is a report of the state of the Shopify App Store in 2019.

Unfortunately, Shopify doesn't provide the number of installs, which is  arguably the most interesting stat. However, it does provide enough data  to not worry about that.

As you already know, there is an almost infinite number of ways in which  you can dissect, interpolate and correlate data and the risk is to  drown in a sea of meaningless data.

Hence my goal is not to simply have a big page full of numbers but to  discover meaningful correlations, actionable insights and fun facts.

This report will try to answer questions like:

  • What's the average price by category?
  • how many have pricing plans do apps have on average?
  • How does price correlate with rating?
  • Is there any difference in the number of reviews or rating score between paid and free apps?
  • Do one-time charge apps have higher ratings?
  • How does price correlate with reviews?
  • Does having multiple plans affect the number of reviews or rating score?
  • Which category of apps merchants like the most?

This report is split into 3 main sections: Price, Rating and Reviews.  Each metric is analysed through several dimensions, like pricing model,  number of plans, etc. When it makes sense I comment the insight with a  personal explanation.

Finally, unlike other reports that only split apps between free and  paid, I find more interesting to include freemium apps. Freemium apps  are paid apps that have a free plan (e.g: Privy). As we will see, the biggest surprises come indeed from this group.

PS: I'm considering building a tool that monitors apps in the Shopify  App Store and finds hidden trends but can also be used for competitor  analysis and BI. If you're interested, sign up here let me know what you think.

Ready? Let's get started.

General stats

  • 2,691 Shopify apps from 1,471 app developers.
  • 593 (22%) are free, 456 (17%) are freemium and 1,642 (61%) are paid.
  • Of the paid apps, 28 (1.3%) are one-off payment and 2,070 (98.7%) are monthly subscriptions

  • Of the paid apps, 1,150 (55%) offer only 1 plan and 948 (45%) offer multiple plans

💰 Price

As a merchant, price is obviously one of the most important factors  when deciding to use an app but as we'll see price elasticity varies  massively across different dimensions.

* Note: since many apps have multiple pricing plans, with "price"  I refer to the starting price (the price of the cheapest plan). Also,  unless otherwise specified, with "paid" I refer to both paid and  freemium apps.

Across the entire Shopify App Store, the average price is $14.77 and the median price is $5.99. Things get much more interesting when we segment the results by other dimensions.

By pricing model

shopify pricing by pricing model
  • One-off apps: avg = $42.09 - Median = $29.49
  • Subscription apps: avg = $14.40/month - Median = $5.99/month

🧐 Takeaway: perhaps unsurprisingly, the average price of one-time  apps is considerably higher than apps with a monthly subscription since  they need to capture all the value in one transaction, though the latter  presumably make more money in the long term.

By plans

shopify pricing by plan
  • Single plan: avg = $16.89/month - Median = $7.99/month
  • Multiple plans: avg = $12.19/month - Median = $1.99/month

By category

shopify pricing by category
  • Store design: avg = $8.93 - Median = $4.99
  • Sales and conversion: avg = $14.03 - Median = $6.99
  • Marketing: avg = $15.53 - Median = $5
  • Orders and shipping: avg = $22.29 - Median = $9.99
  • Custom support: avg = $11.21 - Median = $4.99
  • Inventory management: avg = $36.27 - Median = $9.95
  • Reporting: avg = $23.66 - Median = $10
  • Finding products: avg = $22.7 - Median = $9.99
  • Productivity: avg = $10.75 - Median = $6
  • Finances: avg = $21.52 - Median = $14.95
  • Trust and security: avg = $8.1 - Median = $4.99
  • Places to sell: avg = $29.7 - Median = $4.99

* Note: for this section I only consider paid apps. All prices are per month.

🧐 Takeaway: if we are to trust standard economic theory, we can see the  average price as the average willingness to pay. Here the data clearly  shows that the category does affect the willingness to pay of merchants.  For example, the willingness to pay for "trust and security" or "store  design" apps is only around $8-$9, compared to apps that help merchants  find new products, manage orders or the inventory for which the  willingness to pay almost triples to $20-$25.

The conclusion from the data is obvious: if you're a developer, the  category of your app (which is ultimately the market in which you want  your company to compete in) can affect your customers' willingness to  pay.

Most expensive plan

Since most apps have multiple plans, in order to "normalise" the data  I have used the "starting price" (the price of the cheapest plan).
If we look at the price of the most expensive plan instead the average price is $96.05/month and the median price is $40/month.

😎 Fun fact: the most expensive product in the entire Shopify App Store is Visely, a cross-sells and up-sells plugin whose Enterprise plan costs $999/month.

⭐️ Rating

Ratings are the bread and butter of marketplaces and the Shopify App Store is no exception.

Across the entire Shopify App Store, the average rating is 3.76 and the median is 4.6.

This means that in general people are moderately satisfied with the apps  in the Shopify App Store, however, the fact that the mean is lower than  the median indicates that there are outliers in the low end of the  distribution. In other words, overall people are happy but unhappy  people are REALLY unhappy, which results in lots of 1 stars ratings.

By business model

shopify ratings by business model
  • Free apps: avg = 3.56 - Median = 4.4
  • Freemium apps: avg = 4.18 - Median = 4.7
  • Paid apps: avg = 3.7 - Median = 4.7

🧐 Takeaway: Freemium apps have a higher average rating compared to  free and paid apps. For now, let's this fact sink in. Further down in  the report, I'll try to explain why this is.

By pricing model

shopify ratings by pricing model
  • One-off apps: avg = 3.8 - Median = 4.7
  • Monthly apps: avg = 3.8 - Median = 4.7

🧐 Takeaway: Whether the app is one-off or monthly subscription doesn't seem to make any difference in the general rating.

By plans

shopify ratings by plan
  • Single plan apps: avg = 3.61 - Median = 4.7
  • Multiple plans apps: avg = 4.08 - Median = 4.7

🧐 Takeaway: Here we can see a small but significant (13%) difference  in average rating between single plan apps and multiple plans ones. I  believe the difference is due to the fact that apps with multiple plans  usually scale with usage, thus you only pay more when you get more  results. With single-plan apps you pay the same regardless of your  results, which is good is your store is doing well but otherwise feels  deeply unfair.

If we compare this result with the one we gathered from the "By business  model" section, we can start drawing some conclusions. In freemium  apps, people usually get started for free and only start paying when  they see results. Hence users feel they are being treated fairly and  this is reflected in higher rating scores.

Personally, I think almost every SaaS app will eventually embrace a  Freemium model simply because it's better for customer retention and in  the long term retention is all that matters. Profitwell has a great episode on why Freemium is likely going to become more and more popular in the SaaS space.

By category

shopify ratings by category
  • Store design: avg = 3.86 - Median = 4.7
  • Sales and conversion: avg = 3.9 - Median = 4.8
  • Marketing: avg = 3.81 - Median = 4.6
  • Orders and shipping: avg = 3.62 - Median = 4.6
  • Customer support: avg = 3.68 - Median = 4.7
  • Inventory management: avg = 3.45 - Median = 4.4
  • Reporting: avg = 3.42 - Median = 4.6
  • Finding products: avg = 3.84 - Median = 4.3
  • Productivity: avg = 3.74 - Median = 4.6
  • Finances: avg = 3.64 - Median = 4.7
  • Trust and security: avg = 3.83 - Median = 4.8
  • Places to sell: avg = 3.39 - Median = 3.95

🧐 Takeaway: the category an app is in doesn't seem to have any meaningful impact on the average rating.

Correlation rating/price

Here we look at the correlation between rating and price to see if  how much people pay affects their rating score. I have arbitrarily  chosen 6 price ranges to make the data understandable: $0 to $5, $5 to  $10, $10 to $20, $20 to $50, $50 to $100 and over a $100.

shopify correlation rating/price
  • $0 to $5: avg = 3.9
  • $5 to $10: avg = 3.8
  • $10 to $20: avg = 3.63
  • $20 to $50: avg = 3.86
  • $50 to $100: avg = 3.67
  • $100+: avg = 3.41

*Note: only paid apps have been considered for this chart. Also,  the price refers to the starting price (e.g: the price of the first)

🧐 Takeaway: price does not seem to have any correlation with rating,  which basically means that you are equally likely to find happy  customers for $5/month apps as well as $199/month ones.

✍️ Reviews

Reviews are a big part of the Shopify App Store, perhaps even more so  than ratings. Most users will read at least a couple of reviews before  making up their mind and an app with 0 reviews is a big red warning.

In total, users have left 280,223 reviews in the Shopify App Store. The average number of reviews per app is 104 and the median number is just 8. As we'll see soon, the numbers are massively skewed by a few outliers.

By business model

shopify reviews by business model
  • Free apps: avg = 112 - Median = 8
  • Freemium apps: avg = 265 - Median = 25
  • Paid apps: avg = 56 - Median = 5

🧐 Takeaway: here we can see a stark contrast between the different  groups. Once again, freemium apps seem to show the highest engagement.  Paid apps, on the other end, show low engagement, with 50% fewer reviews  than the overall average. It's hard to draw hard conclusions from this  chart but unless we believe there is something special about the  developers of premium apps, we must believe there is something about the  Freemium model itself.

By pricing model

shopify reviews by pricing model
  • One-off apps: avg = 22 - Median = 4
  • Monthly apps: avg = 102 - Median = 8

🧐 Takeaway: apps with a monthly subscription show a much higher  engagement (at least when it comes to reviews) than one-off ones. It's  hard to say why but again my hunch is that apps that you keep paying  monthly deliver more value, over the long term, than one-off apps and  this is reflected in the higher number of reviews.

By plan

shopify reviews by plan
  • Single plan apps: avg = 42 - Median = 4
  • Multiple plans apps: avg = 173 - Median = 20

🧐 Takeaway: even more stark is the difference between apps with a  single plan vs apps with multiple plans. This insight matches the one  found for the rating in the previous section. Single plan apps simply  seem to be "worse" both in terms of rating and number of reviews  generated.

By category

shopify reviews by category
  • Store design: avg = 136 - Median = 9
  • Sales and conversion: avg = 134 - Median = 9
  • Marketing: avg = 184 - Median = 10
  • Orders and shipping: avg = 49 - Median = 6
  • Customer support: avg = 63 - Median = 5
  • Inventory management: avg = 36 - Median = 7
  • Reporting: avg = 37 - Median = 3
  • Finding products: avg = 120 - Median = 17
  • Productivity: avg = 57 - Median = 7
  • Finances: avg = 29 - Median = 3
  • Trust and security: avg = 91 - Median = 6
  • Places to sell: avg = 55 - Median = 10

🧐 Takeaway: there are massive differences in the numbers of reviews  across categories. The general theme seems to be the following: apps  that belong to "set-and-forget" categories (e.g: reporting, inventory  management, etc) have a a low number of reviews. On the other hand, apps  that are used often and where the perceived value is higher (e.g: sales  and conversion, marketing, finding products) get many more reviews.

My conclusion is that how often merchants interact with an app does  affect the likelihood of leaving a review more than the value actually  received. As obvious as it seems if you install an app and never look at  it, even if it delivers value it won't be top of mind. The classic  example is reporting: maybe an app saves you dozens of hours every month  but the perceived value is still less than another app that generates a  few leads.

Another interesting thing from this chart is the stark difference  between average and median in every category which indicates  (unsurprisingly perhaps) that every category is dominated, reviews-wise,  by outliers with thousands of reviews.

Correlation reviews/price

Here we look at the correlation between number of reviews and price  to see if how much people pay affects their likelihood of leaving a  review.

Again, I have arbitrarily chosen 6 price ranges to make the data  understandable: $0 to $5, $5 to $10, $10 to $20, $20 to $50, $50 to $100  and over a $100.

shopify correlation reviews/price
  • $0 to $5: avg = 28
  • $5 to $10: avg = 68
  • $10 to $20: avg = 67
  • $20 to $50: avg = 93
  • $50 to $100: avg = 46
  • $100+: avg = 23

🧐 Takeaway: price doesn't seem to affect the number of reviews,  except for the $20-$50 range which gets almost twice as many reviews as  the upper and lower ranges. Not sure what to make of it, more research  is needed.


At the time of writing, the ultra-popular marketing suite Privy has 19,622 reviews, which represents 7% of the total number of reviews  in the entire Shopify store! Since Privy is such a phenomenal reviews  collector, I thought it'd be interesting to see how things would look  like if the stats were "normalised" (that is: without Privy).

Without Privy, the average number of reviews across the entire Shopify App Store decreases to 97, which is quite remarkable indeed.

😎 Fun fact: The normalized average of 97 reviews means that Privy is 202x better than the average Shopify app at collecting reviews. Clearly, they know what they are doing!

👨‍💻 App developers

App developers are the lifeblood of the Shopify App Store. Since it's inception in 2013, Shopify says it's paid out over $100M to app developers. In this section, we look at how they stack with each other.

In total, there are 1,471 app developers on the Shopify  App Store and, as you can imagine, the vast majority of them has built  only 1 app which is why the average number of apps per developer is 1.8.

By app counts

shopify app developers by app counts

The most prolific app developers are:

  1. Webkul Software Pvt Ltd - 30 apps
  2. - 25 apps
  3. Omega - 24 apps
  4. SpurIT - 24 apps
  5. SolverCircle - 22 apps

By reviews count

shopify app developers by review counts

The most reviewed app developers are:

  1. Hextom - 19,720 reviews over 11 apps
  2. Privy - 19,622 reviews for 1 app
  3. Booster Apps - 15,864 reviews over 14 apps
  4. BOLD - 10,043 reviews over 19 apps
  5. Cart Kit - 6,921 reviews over 4 apps

By rating

Here we want to see who are the best app developers based on the  average rating of their apps. To keep things interesting, I've only  considered app developers with at least 1,000 reviews across all their  apps.

  1. PushOwl - rated 5/5 with 1,721 reviews
  2. Code Black Belt - rated 4.92/5 with 2,978 reviews
  3. FORSBERG+two - rated 4.92/5 with 1,587 reviews
  4. ReCharge - rated 4.9/5 with 1,396 reviews
  5. Firepush -  rated 4.9/5 with 1,132 reviews

🏆 Awards

Best app: Free Shipping Bar
Why: deciding which app is the best among thousands is a hard task which  is why I've decided to simply trust the "wisdom of the crowd".
To calculate the best app I've looked at the rating of apps with at  least 2,000 reviews and, since this search returned multiple apps with  equal rating score, I ranked them by descending number of reviews and  taken the first app. It's not very scientific but hey-oh. Free shipping  bar has a rating of 4.9 with over 8,000 reviews, which is truly  remarkable. So maybe my method is not too bad after all :)

Best developer: Code Black Belt
Why: to decide the best app developer I looked at the ranking of app  developers by rating and although PushOwl has a slightly better rating  (5/5), Code Black Belt comes very close (4.92/5) but with almost twice  the number of reviews.

Most expensive: Pixlee
Why: there are apps with a $999/month plan but usually is the most  expensive option. Pixlee has only 1 plan that costs $599/month.

Most reviews: Privy
Why: at 19,622 reviews, Privy is the undisputed King, Queen and God of this category.

Best bargain: Also bought
Why: to calculate the "best bargain" app I've created a small script  that looks at all apps with at least 250 reviews and ranks them by  rating, number of reviews and starting price. There are other  interesting bargains in the Shopify App Store but it's hard to beat a  $9.99/month app rated 5/5 with over 500 reviews.


One can tell almost any story with statistics which is why I've  included all the raw numbers in the report so that you can draw your own  conclusions.

That said, in my opinion, the numbers in this report do tell some stories.

Story #1: freemium apps seem to perform better for almost every metric.  They get far more reviews and have higher ratings in general.

Story #2: apps with a monthly subscription seem to perform better than  apps with a one-charge model both in terms of ratings and number of  reviews. Among them, apps with multiple pricing plans seem to get higher  ratings than apps with a single plan.

Story #3: the category apps are in does affect the willingness to pay of  merchants. This probably affects CAC and LTV as well. If you are an app  developer, this insight potentially has big consequences in choosing  which apps to develop.

One more thing: I'm considering building a tool that  monitors apps in the Shopify App Store and finds hidden trends but can  also be used for competitor analysis and BI. If you're interested, sign up here let me know what you think.