Postman’s 2021 State of API Report Finds APIs Key to Sparking Innovation During Pandemic, Ushering in API-First World

The world’s largest API survey of more than 28,000 professionals finds organizations continue to embrace technology for pandemic-driven organizational shifts, with API investments remaining strong.

Postman, the world’s leading API platform, recently released the results of its 2021 State of the API Report, the largest and most comprehensive annual study of APIs in the world. It surveyed more than 28,000 developers and API professionals on a range of topics, including their organizations’ development priorities, how they get their work done, and where they see the industry going. These findings—combined with data observed on the recently enhanced Postman API Platform—build a robust picture of the current and future state of APIs.

As a result of the pandemic and other tectonic shifts in market trends, many respondents said they had to digitally (and quickly) modernize their organization to better serve changing markets, while some other respondents said they had to pivot their business entirely. Common areas of investment included e-commerce, customer support via chat and text, and contactless digital systems—all of which relied on APIs. Because of the power of APIs, organizations were able to implement changes in weeks or months that would have otherwise taken years.

“As the pandemic suddenly changed everything, CarMax was able to quickly create and support new experiences and solutions for our customers, employees, and partners—much of which was due to APIs,” said Shamim Mohammad, EVP and CIO/CTO at CarMax.

Key survey findings include:

  • Organizations responded to the pandemic with APIs: Almost two-thirds of respondents stated that the pandemic somewhat or significantly affected their work, and almost half of those noted their organization’s changes were supported by APIs.
  • The API ecosystem is growing: The reliance on APIs to support business and product shifts during the pandemic was reflected through the Postman API Platform. Over the past 12 months, Postman users made 855 million API requests (up 56% from the prior year), created 30 million collections (up 39%), and signed in from 234 different countries and geographies—including Antarctica.
  • Developers are spending more time with APIs: 49% of respondents said that more than half of their organizations’ development effort is spent on APIs (compared to just over 40% last year), showing the prevalence of APIs in digital organizations’ technology stacks.
  • API investments remain strong and steady as more companies embrace the API-first philosophy: An overwhelming 94% of respondents stated the investment of time and resources into APIs will increase or stay the same for the next 12 months. Additionally, in terms of embracing an API-first philosophy on a scale of one to ten, 67% of survey respondents ranked themselves as five or higher—a five-point increase from last year.
  • The investments in an API-first philosophy are paying off: “API-first leaders” (i.e., respondents who rank themselves a nine or ten for embracing an API-first philosophy) produce APIs more quickly, deploy more frequently, have fewer failures, and recover more swiftly when failures occur. For example, 46% of API-first leaders indicated they could recover from API failure in less than an hour, compared to 34% of all respondents.

“Our annual survey reveals not only that the API ecosystem is continuing its rapid expansion, but also that the momentum behind API-first is accelerating—and those who embrace API-first are seeing real and demonstrable benefits,” said Abhinav Asthana, co-founder and CEO at Postman. “The data also shows us that APIs are a critical foundation for organizations who need to innovate quickly and rapidly respond to changing conditions like the global pandemic.”

Produced by Postman, the 2021 State of the API Report is based on a survey of 28,252 API industry members from around the world. The survey was fielded over a period of three weeks in July 2021. Learn more about the findings in the interactive 2021 State of the API Report at https://www.postman.com/state-of-api/.

About Postman

Postman is the world’s leading API platform, used by more than 17 million developers and 500,000 organizations worldwide for building and using APIs. Postman simplifies each step of the API lifecycle and streamlines collaboration, enabling users to create better APIs faster. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and has an office in Bangalore, where it was founded. Postman is privately held, with funding from Nexus Venture Partners, CRV, Insight Partners, Coatue, Battery Ventures, and BOND. Learn more at postman.com or connect with Postman on Twitter via @getpostman.