October 25, 2023
3 min read

The Economic Impact of APIs: API Monetization, AI, Web3, and Beyond

Eric Pulsifer
Kong Content Team

Whether ordering groceries online, checking your bank balance, or tracking a delivery, APIs are behind the scenes making it all possible. They're the backbone of the digital experiences that drive our interconnected global economy.

You may know that. But beyond the convenient (and sometimes delightful) experiences APIs enable, how are APIs actually affecting the global economy and shaping the future course of business and technology?

We wanted to know, so we found out.

In the 2023 API Impact Report, we take a look at the numbers behind these unsung heroes of our interconnected world. We dig into how APIs are at the forefront of innovation, dive into the profound economic impact of APIs, explore the rising tide of API attacks, and shed some light on the critical role APIs play in emerging technologies like Web3 and AI.

Read on for a few highlights.

APIs are an economic powerhouse

APIs enable agility in an ever-changing economic landscape, connecting systems and data, but few realize the true economic significance of this technology. 

By 2027, APIs are projected to contribute a staggering $14.2 trillion to the global economy. That’s a projected $3.3 trillion growth in market size from today — a difference greater than the current GDP of the United Kingdom or France.

Do businesses understand the true value of APIs?

Despite their clear business value, an API knowledge gap still exists between developers and the C-suite. 

According to a 2023 Kong Customer Survey, 46% of developers say senior leadership lacks a strong understanding of the value of APIs. This divide can have implications for organizations striving to harness the full potential of APIs by embracing an API-first approach.

API monetization: A growing opportunity

API monetization is on the rise, with businesses offering APIs as products or services to generate revenue. 

How much revenue are we talking about? The economic impact of API monetization is expected to double from $3.97 billion in 2023 to $8.56 billion by 2027, providing new revenue streams for forward-thinking companies. And that’s likely just a small slice of the pie given our estimates are based on publicly verifiable sources and are therefore most likely on the conservative.

Generative AI: Where APIs and innovation converge

The rapid advancement of generative AI is revolutionizing industries. But AI doesn’t work without APIs, which serve as the eyes, ears, and hands of AI. 

AI models rely on APIs for data exchange and integration, and as the adoption of AI grows, we’ll see an even greater surge in API usage. And the economic implications are massive.

Web3, Blockchain, and Crypto: Fueling Economic Growth

Web3, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies owe their existence to APIs. As these technologies continue to evolve, they’re poised to contribute $1.9 trillion to the global economy over the next five years, further emphasizing the pivotal role APIs play in innovation.

The future of APIs: A smart neural network

APIs are no longer just building blocks; they are the smart neural network for the cloud. To thrive in this API-driven world, businesses must strive to become secure API-first companies, maximizing the benefits of innovation while safeguarding against security risks.

Want to explore the full scope of our research? Download the API Impact report to gain deeper insights into the economic impact of APIs, emerging technologies, and the evolving landscape of API security.

Capitalize on the opportunities presented by APIs with Kong

To make the most of APIs, businesses need tools to effectively manage them. Here are the benefits developers and business leaders reported seeing with API management in a recent Kong survey:

  • 67% Increased agility
  • 65% Team productivity
  • 50% Increased revenue
  • 44% Competitive advantage

Discover what Kong’s unified API platform can do for your business. Get started with Kong Konnect for free now.