API Opportunity for Enterprise

13 Oct 2022 by Scott Middleton

Market research, trends, and data indicates that APIs are one of the most strategically important areas of technology. 

APIs are the dominant communication and integration technology and this is only going to grow, if not explode. This article looks at selected research, trends, and data points that support this view. 

APIs: the majority of internet traffic and fastest growing

The view that APIs currently power most interactions is backed up by the data. 

APIs currently power the majority of internet traffic. Cloudflare’s research into the Landscape of API Traffic shows that across 2021, APIs accounted for over 50% of internet traffic. More than twice the amount of traffic of the next nearest type of traffic, websites.

Internet traffic data is also inline with the view that APIs represent the fastest growing space for opportunities. The same cloudflare research shows that API traffic grew by 21% over 2021, the fastest growing segment of traffic by a significant amount.

APIs strategically essential for building enterprise value

Traffic data doesn’t always correlate to enterprise strategy or value, but in this case the importance of APIs is also found in analysis of the relationship APIs have to strategy.

Enterprise decision makers at firms with 1,000 employees and over were surveyed on the importance of APIs, and 97% said APIs are mission critical to success and survival. 

Researchers at MIT looked at the share price of businesses with APIs versus those without. They found that businesses with APIs had a 10.3% increase in market value. 

It’s not unreasonable to take from this that even organisations with below 1,000 employees need to pay attention to APIs. It’s also not unreasonable to see the importance of APIs for Governments, if society prefers a way of interacting, then Governments need to work with that preference.

APIs matter in every industry

It could be easy to assume that APIs only matter for high technology companies or particular types of organisations, however APIs are relevant in every industry.

Research conducted by Google into how their API platform is used showed that API calls come from industries of all types.

Share of API Calls by Industry

In the following chart from Google’s research you can see that growth in API usage in healthcare, financial services and telecommunications is outpacing growth in APIs at technology companies.

API growth by industry

In every industry you can find examples of the power of APIs:

  • Financial Services: The UK’s Open Banking system saw 1 billion API calls in May 2022 alone.
  • Retail: 8,000 apps have been built on Shopify’s ecommerce API so small-to-medium sized retailers can provide a great online shopping experience.
  • Manufacturing: 19,000+ developers have registered for Mercedes’ API.
  • Government: The Singapore Government has 100 million API calls across 2,400 APIs per month for a population of just under 6 million people.

But this is only just the beginning. These numbers are likely to grow substantially based on API trends, as well as opportunities like the metaverse, digital assistants, and greater integration requirements.

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