2012 Trends and 2013 Predictions for Open Source eCommerce
I’ve been writing about Open Source eCommerce (OSC) shopping carts for a decade now, and many carts have risen and fallen in popularity during that time. For the past five years I’ve tracked the popularity of OSC carts every month by doing an exact Google search and recording the results. This doesn’t track the actual number of carts installed, and popularity can be positive or negative, but over time it becomes more and more valuable as the search results mirror the life cycle of a cart. Carts that are becoming more popular show rapid increases in the number of search results. It is possible to see exact the month a cart peaks in popularity. Year-to-year results are even more revealing.
Most popular OSC programs of 2012
OpenCart popularity quadrupled in the last twelve months to emerge as this year’s winner of the popularity prize. Only two other programs my study have ever tracked have shown this kind of growth: Magento soared in popularity to peak in July 2011, ending 2012 down about 15% from a year earlier. In 2011 PrestaShop grew nearly fivefold, while in 2012 it has held steady throughout the year, and continues to be at its highest popularity level. VirtueMart, an open source e-commerce plug-in for Joomla, surged to a peak in February 2012 a few months after introduction of its new Version 2.
Most Surprising Renaissance
osCommerce, the grand-daddy of all OSC programs, had been steadily decreasing in popularity every year until mid-2011, when it enjoyed a temporary resurgence due to the release of a developers’ version 3.0 in August 2011. However this past year osCommerce popularity again declined steadily, dropping to half of its opening level.
OSC Predictions for 2013
Hosted or “cloud solutions” while not traditional OSC programs, are programs that can be rented for a small monthly fee. This allows small merchants to try the programs without investing a lot of time and money in installation and development. Hosted solutions Big Commerce, Volusion, and Shopify all showed impressive growth over 2012, and I predict even greater growth for all of these non-OSC programs in 2013. Hosted versions of OSC programs, already available for many, will become highly popular in 2013.
I predict OpenCart will extend its wild ride well into 2013. Magento will continue to be popular, however its hosted solution “Magento Go” will grab many smaller merchants. OSC makers will need to make their carts more attractive and easy to use in order to compete with the simple and maintenance-free hosted solutions.
About the Study
Currently I track nearly 80 carts every month, mostly open source but also free and low-cost carts and hosted solutions. I begin tracking a cart when I first see it mentioned, and usually they have fewer than 100,000 Google search results. Each month I repeat the exact same search and record the results. Google occasionally changes their algorithm, but it tends to affect all carts equally that month. Over time the results are more significant and relevant. All carts discussed in this article have over a million search results.
- OpenCart: http://www.opencart.com/
- Magento: http://magentocommerce.com/
- PrestaShop: http://www.prestashop.com/
- osCommerce: http://www.oscommerce.com
- VirtueMart: http://virtuemart.net/