The Chrome Webstore Report: 2021

We take a deep dive into the Chrome Webstore. Using data we assess an app store that provides access to over 2.65bn daily active users.

Following my previous post, the Shopify App Store Report: 2021, I wanted to provide a comprehensive overview of arguably the most important Micro-SaaS marketplace, the Chrome Webstore. With over 2.65bn daily active users and a 63% share of the global browser market, it’s an enormous opportunity for investors and developers.

Similar to the Shopify store, in future posts I will focus on more nuanced insights, uncovering opportunities and areas of value. But to get started, it’s useful to kick-off with a comprehensive general overview. I hope you enjoy!


All the analysis in this report has been produced using data available on Marketplace Apps. Why not try it out yourself and build your own insights!

Intro 👋

Launched in February 2011, the Chrome Webstore enables developers to build extensions and applications for the Chrome Browser. Considering Chrome’s 63% share of the global browser market and 2.65bn daily active users, it’s one of the largest opportunities for Micro-SaaS developers and investors alike.

As of the 7th June 20121, the Chrome Webstore has 129,509 extensions across 11 categories produced by 83,040 developers.

I’ve broken this report into the following sections with the hope of providing insights into each:

  1. General stats

  2. Categories

  3. Users

  4. Reviews & Ratings

  5. Developers

Let’s get straight into the insights…🏃‍♀️

General stats 🤓

We’ll be segmenting the data in our analysis primarily by category and by pricing model in the rest of this report.

Note: Many “free extensions” offer paid versions directly via their sites as opposed to via the webstore. We are working on updating our data to capture this pricing information and will update accordingly.

Categories 🏷

The Chrome Webstore has 11 categories that extensions are tagged against. Unlike other app marketplaces, each extension can only be associated with one category which makes for simpler analysis.

The categories are:

  • Accessibility

  • Blogging

  • Developer Tools

  • Fun

  • News & Weather

  • Photos

  • Productivity

  • Search Tools

  • Shopping

  • Social & Communications

  • Sports

The tree diagram below shows that “Productivity” is the most popular category by number of extensions with 31.53% of the total extensions on the store (40,833). This is relatively closely followed by “Fun” with 20.98% (27,166). At the bottom end is “Sports” with just 1.22% of the total extensions (1,582).

You can see this fully broken down on the table below if you want the individual data points:

This does change by pricing model (Paid vs Free). Whilst “Free” extensions maintain a similar percentage breakdown to the overall market, “Paid” extensions vary significantly.

Most notably “Fun” becomes the dominant category with 73.98% of the total extensions (4,381) that have a “Paid” pricing model shown on the tree diagram above. This is an increase from 21% across all models.

Users 😃

Users is one of the most fascinating areas that we can gain insights into on the Chrome Webstore. Thankfully, the Chrome Webstore provides user information (unlike other app stores) meaning we can generate some really interesting insights.

Users by category

There are a total of 1bn users using Chrome extensions. We can see how this breaks down by category on the waterfall chart below.

The clear leader is the “Productivity” category with the highest numbers of users at 591M or 59% of the total users. The full detail is on the table below.

Average & median users

The average number of users per extension is 8,470 across and the median is just 33 across the entire store.

When looking at both the average and median charts together (apologies I couldn’t get them on one chart due to scale) there are a few interesting insights.

First, the discrepancy between the median and average number of users indicates that users are concentrated within a small number of extensions. More detail on this in the User Concentration section below.

Second, based on this data, the “Developer Tools” category looks like an interesting opportunity. It makes up just over 8% of the total extensions and it has a median number of users per app of 48 which exceeds the median of the webstore overall at 38.

Furthermore, the average number of reviews per extension is lower than the mean at 7,133 vs 8,470. My hypothesis is that this is actually a positive characteristic when looking at the category level.

This is because it may indicate that users are less concentrated within a few extensions in comparison to other categories. If so, this would be attractive as it would mean higher fragmentation and therefore more opportunity. More work would be required to confirm this.

We can also see some variance between Paid and Free labelled extensions as shown on the charts below.

Free extensions have a higher average and median number of users compared to Paid extensions. The latter underperforming the webstore overall with a median of 26 reviews vs 33 on the webstore. And a average number of reviews of 8,448 vs the webstore of 8,470.

Therefore, based on this data, the “Free” extensions strategy outperforms a pure Paid model.

User concentration

What is clear is that users are concentrated within a relatively small number of extensions. We can validate this by looking at a few different pieces of analysis.

First, we can look at the extensions with the highest number of users and calculate what percentage of total users they make up. What we see is:

  • 26 extensions (0.02% of the extensions available) have 25% of the total users

  • 102 extensions (0.08% of the extensions available) have 50% of the total users

  • 517 extension (0.40% of the extensions available) have 75% of the total users

  • 10,339 extensions (7.98% of those available) have 98% of the total users

You can see this in the charts above and below which plot the number of users against the number of extensions.

The initial steep line shows the number of users quickly accumulating within a a small number of extensions and then rapidly flattening off as a large number of extensions attract a very small number of users.

To be absolutely sure, we can also invert this and look at the number of extensions that have a small number of users. What we see is:

  • 8.5% of extensions have 0 users

  • 38.2% of extensions have less than 10 users

  • 50.5% of extensions have less than 25 users

  • 58.8% of extensions have less than 50 users

Overall, the Chrome Webstore is highly concentrated. I would need to investigate further but my working hypothesis would be that it’s more concentrated than the Shopify App Store for example.

The flip side, is that it is an enormous market. So whilst it may be highly concentrated it’s a huge audience and you only need to convert a very small percentage of it to build a good business.


Reviews and Ratings ⭐

As with other marketplaces, reviews and ratings are a crucial aspect of the Chrome Webstore.

Average rating

The average rating across the 7,295,278 reviews that have been left is 4.38. This tells us that the vast majority of reviews being left are positive.

Unfortunately, currently we cannot break out positive and negative reviews as at this time we are unable to capture the reviews by individual rating. Regardless, given the high average rating we can be sure the majority of reviews are positive.

In the chart above, we can see the average rating broken down by category. Interestingly the “Photos” category outperforms the webstore average of 4.38 by the highest amount. Furthermore, the “Developer Tools” category provides another validation point as a category of interest outperforming the webstore average rating by a few basis points. This is definitely an area I would be investigating to target for acquisition opportunities or building extensions for.

Correlation with number of users

I also wanted to answer the question whether a higher average rating is correlated with a higher number of users. This is a pretty significant question as it is testing whether a higher rating is fundamental to attracting more users.

The answer is no, with a slightly negative correlation of (-0.03). I’ll break out the analysis in another post but it’s an important point that a higher rating does not mean an increased number of users on the Chrome Webstore.

Average and median number of reviews

The average number of reviews across the webstore is 99.8 but the median number of reviews is just 3.

Similar to users, the discrepancy between the average and median tells us that the reviews are concentrated in a small number of extensions. As I’ve already written in depth on User concentration, I won’t repeat similar analysis here.

Unsurprisingly “Productivity” extensions has the highest average numbers of reviews given the category has the most extensions and users. However, what is interesting is that the median number of reviews does not vary between categories. It stays at 3 (+/- 1 review) across the webstore.

My thinking is that this is a factor of the Chrome Webstores high concentration. A small number of extensions have a disproportionately high number of reviews and a large number of extensions have very few. This therefore keeps the average high but the the median number of reviews low.

Developers 👨‍💻

There are a total of 83,040 developers that have produced extensions on the Chrome Webstore. This means that each developer has on average 1.6 listed extensions.

Furthermore, just 34 developers account for more than 10% of the extensions on the Chrome Webstore (13,007 extensions). In fact, the developer with the most extensions has 2,659 🤯

Below is a table with the 15 largest developers by number of extensions so you can get a sense of their size.

That’s all we have time for. I hope you enjoyed the post and we’ll have new posts coming up shortly.

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