When Gutenberg launched in 2018, it inspired a lot of discussion around the future of pagebuilder plugins.
At that time, many WordPress users were installing pagebuilders because they wanted to use blocks and a drag-and-drop approach to site-building. Gutenberg was clearly a response to user demand.
So, more than two years after Gutenberg arrived, how are pagebuilder plugins doing? Let's look at the data.
Active installs of Pagebuilder plugins
In this first part of this post, I'll look at the pagebuilder plugins that launched before Gutenberg and continue to offer an alternative to the current WordPress core blocks.
It's an imperfect way to track trends, but the “Active Install Growth” feature on WordPress.org can give us a good indicator of what's happening.
I personally really enjoy using Beaver Builder, but installs of the “Lite” version have dropped every single month in 2020:
You can see a very similar pattern for Site Origin's pagebuilder. The plugin has over 1 million active installs, but that number is consistently declining.
KingComposer is a pagebuilder with over 100,000 active installs, but it has been flat or declining since the first part of this year.
This next image shows Visual Composer with 80,000 installs:
However, while most pagebuilder plugins are struggling, one goes from strength to strength. Elementor has over 5 million active installs, but still manages to keep growing consistently.
I'll try and highlight Elementor's dominance with this data point …
Every day, Elementor gets more downloads from WordPress.org than all other pagebuilders combined get in a week.
This screenshot is from the excellent Post Status community and shows what the Yoast team are seeing:
I should add a couple of caveats to this discussion:
- We don't know the data for some pagebuilders such as Divi that don't offer a free version.
- There a few exceptions to this decline. BoldGrid has grown this year and so has PageLayer, although both are showing slowed growth.
Nonetheless, it's clear that many pagebuilder plugins are struggling for growth while Elementor enjoys exponential growth.
Active installs of Gutenberg-specific pagebuilder plugins
I'm now going to look at plugins that provide pagebuilder features for Gutenberg. This includes layout blocks and key functionality (sliders, galleries, maps etc) that you normally find in pagebuilder plugins.
Here is the CoBlocks plugin from GoDaddy with over 300,000 installs:
This next image shows the growth of Kadence Blocks with 80,000 active installs.
Here is the install growth for the Stackable plugin with 30,000 active installs.
Finally, this is PublishPress Blocks, which we develop here at PublishPress. This plugin has over 30,000 active installs, and like the others on this Gutenberg list, it hasn't had a down week in 2020.
I could keep going: there are probably a dozen more Gutenberg-focused plugins that are growing consistently this year. Yes, most of them are currently smaller than the large pagebuilders but that may change in the next couple of years.
If you really don't enjoy Gutenberg, there are various ways you can disable the block editor. But here at PublishPress, we'll keep diving into the Gutenberg along with many of you. We'll also use Elementor in some situations. These two approach can work together: you can use Gutenberg blocks inside Elementor!
As we get towards the end of 2020, three trends are clear:
- Pagebuilder plugins have generally suffered slow growth and even declines since 2018.
- Elementor is dominating the pagebuilder plugin market.
- Gutenberg-specific pagebuilder plugins are seeing consistent growth.
There is lots of room for splitting hairs and pointing out holes in the data here. Please feel free to do that in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you're seeing in the WordPress space at the moment …