API Growth Continues to Skyrocket


Every piece of software built today either uses an API or is an API. APIs (i.e., application programming interfaces) have become an essential element in today’s digital economy—and that means the API growth rate is increasing at an explosive pace.

Today, the Postman API Platform is used by more than 17 million developers across more than 800,000 organizations around the globe, and this gives Postman a unique view of the API explosion: In just four years, the number of Postman Collections—which are essentially folders where API developers group their API requests together—skyrocketed from less than half a million to nearly 35 million between 2016 and 2020. (Between January 2019 and January 2020 alone, there was an increase of more than 100%, from 17.4 million to 34.9 million.) UPDATE: As of January 2021, the total has surpassed 46 million collections.

API growth rate chart of Postman Collections
Postman Collections have rapidly increased to 34.9 million as of January 2020

Three tectonic shifts in the industry have led to this spectacular rise of APIs:

  • Consumer: The shift from single-device experiences to multi-device experiences has created an ever-increasing need for APIs to power these connected devices.
  • Architecture: The shift from monoliths to microservices is made possible only by APIs that provide a way to interact with these services.
  • Infrastructure: The shift from on-premise to cloud means that technology teams are building and deploying APIs faster by quickly provisioning cloud stacks instead of endlessly waiting for hardware to be delivered in the data center.

Cloud computing, app integrations, and all other connected-software experiences require APIs as their building blocks. And developers are definitely meeting the demands of these evolving infrastructures with APIs, a fact which can be noted by looking at the astonishing number of API requests over a given period: In 2019 alone, the number of API requests in Postman was approximately 4.7 billion:

API growth rate in Postman requests

With the ongoing worldwide transition to mobile and cloud-based services, and the increasing power, utility, and ubiquity of the internet as a whole, what once may have seemed limited to the tech industry is now used across nearly all business sectors. In short, the more that the internet expands, the more that the world of APIs expands. And the expansion looks as if it will continue strongly into 2021 and beyond.

To learn more key findings about the evolving world of APIs, check out the 2021 Postman State of the API Report.

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