The State of WordPress Themes

How many theme shops offer lifetime support?  Is it crippling profitability?  How many people sell themes anyway?  We sought to answer these questions and more in the first ever comprehensive study of WordPress theme providers.

We scoured the web for every theme provider we could find.  We found 1,001.  We then took 300 of the most popular providers and looked at them one-by-one collecting our data.  Here’s what we found:

The Infographic:

state of WordPress themes infographic

Theme Providers:

As stated above, we found 1,001 theme shops online.  The 300 in our study are responsible for 4,044 WordPress themes.  On average, each theme provider has 13 themes available.  The most themes any single provider had available was 160.  A handful for tied for the least with just 1 theme available for download.

The average theme shop is just over 3 years old.

Interesting fact: Only having one theme for sale doesn’t mean you’re not making money.  Themeforest author “ThemeFusion” has made over $1 Million with just one theme.

Themeforest Prevalence:

Themeforest was more popular than we anticipated.  872 of the 1,001 shops are selling on Themeforest, and the majority of those that aren’t have their profiles claimed.

“87% of all WordPress theme shops sell themes on Themeforest” – Click to Tweet

In our sample of 300, 204 of them sold on Themeforest.  Of those 204, 189 of them were exclusive authors.

Theme Prices:

The average price of an individually sold theme is $46.  The highest was $199 which included installation, and the next highest was $129.  The cheapest theme for sale was just $5.

This doesn’t quite mean the real price of a theme is $46.  Bundles and sales were not counted.  More importantly, theme “clubs” offered significantly lower prices on a per theme basis.

The average monthly price of a club subscription is $20.  The highest was $99 and the lowest just $3.  On average, this meant themes were priced at just $0.65/theme/month or $7.80/theme/month.

All of the Themeforest exclusive authors are required to use one-time payments.  Of the 111 other shops from our study, 100 sold themes as a one-time payment, 35 sold club subscriptions, and 24 of them did both.

Theme Framework Prices:

We found 19 theme frameworks available online.  8 of them were free and the remaining 11 were all paid.  The average price of a theme framework is $67 with the high being $87 and the low $39.

All of the frameworks were a one-time payment except for one which charged monthly.

Support Prices:

Out of all 300 theme providers, only 2 of them did not offer free support for some period of time.  Another 14 did not offer support at all.

As for the rest:

  • 264 offered lifetime support
  • 26 offered 1 year of support
  • 12 offered lifetime or 1 year depending on the purchase
  • 13 offered month-to-month packages

*The total exceeds 284 because of overlap between the categories

Even though Themeforest authors are not required to offer support, most of them do.  Furthermore, not a single one in the study put a limit on the length of time their customers get support access.

“88% of WordPress theme shops offer lifetime support for their themes/bundles” – Click to Tweet

While 88% of the theme providers offered lifetime support for individual themes/bundles, over 92% when the 14 not providing support are excluded.

Support Tools:

There were primarily four different ways theme shops provided support.  Out of the 300 theme shops:

  • 32 used envato comments
  • 46 used email
  • 156 used forums
  • 68 used a ticket system

97 of them also had a dedicated knowledgebase that included in-depth help beyond a basic FAQ.  Theme shops using a ticket system were most likely to have a knowledgebase with 51 of the 68 using one.

What Do You Think?

We have opinions about all of this, but we’ll save that for another time.  What do you think?