David Perel from Obox Themes has written an excellent article on The State of the WordPress Theme Industry that every premium WordPress theme developer and business owner needs to read. He examines the problems and challenges the industry and many theme companies are now facing – declining sales, product support challenges, the low barrier to entry and race to the bottom, the massive pool of indistinguishable same-same products, and the need to change and look at new sustainable business models to ensure theme businesses can last.
As David explains:
WordPress is used by close to 30% of the internet and, despite its credible competitors, is still the best place to make money for 3rd party designers/developers. The potential for the future is still unbelievable but the current state of the theme industry does not lend itself to long and sustainable businesses.
The 30 day release cycle and low barrier to entry has resulted in a product which has become a commodity…. These days there is very little to choose from between theme companies. Themes look the same, have very similar features and all offer decent support. If you look at the industry’s biggest market — business themes — you will be hard-pressed to know who built what.
A low barrier to entry and the same-same evolution of design has resulted in a massive pool of products that are indistinguishable from the next. Each and everyday, a new business theme is released which is hoping to be the next Kriesi or GoodLayers (aka the ‘Theme Lottery’).
Faced with this truth, it is time we take a new look at the business model…The days of winning the ‘theme lottery’ and lifetime support are over. It’s time we look further than one or two year strategies and ask ourselves how we’re going build theme businesses that can last a long time.
You can read the full article here and let us know what you think in the comments below.