Automattic Buys WooCommerce for Over $30 Million

automattic and woocommerce

Wow. There was huge news this week that impacted both WordPress and e-commerce in general.

Automattic (the parent company of purchased WooCommerce for over $30 million.

As Magento continues to struggle, there’s room for a new dominant player in e-commerce and Matt Mullenwegg seems determined that WordPress will become the new king.

Why did Automattic make this deal?

Automattic and had almost zero e-commerce presence. Until now, the only option for users was to use a fairly clunky integration with Ecwid, Shopify or Gumroad.

The addition of WooCommerce immediately means that Automattic can start to compete with it’s former partners.

It’s interesting to read Matt’s post on the deal. Yes, techincally they purchased WooThemes, which is the parent company of WooCommerce, but there’s not one single mention of themes or the WooThemes name. This deal was all about WooCommerce. Over 85% of WooTheme’s revenue came from WooCommerce.

Plus, even at over $30 million, Automattic probably got a bargain. Shopify runs about 4% of e-commerce stores is preparing for an IPO valuing it at $1 billion. WooCommerce is 8 times more popular than Shopify, with a 25% marketshare (click “The Entire Internet” tab).

Yes, there are some differences between Shopify and WooCommerce. Shopify customers may be more locked into their SaaS platform than WooCommerce customers are. And there may be a discount for WooCommerce being GPL (Automattic could have just forked WooCommerce), but this acquisition immediately appears to be good value.

automattic and woocommerce

Are there any potential downsides?

This is a large acquisition. Automattic is adding 20% more staff, with 55 members of WooTheme joining the company. That won’t be a quick or easy integration to make, as Automattic is also expending enormous effort to re-orientate the company to be more mobile-friendly.

Beyond that, there’s the possibility of developing a mono-culture around e-commerce in WordPress, although that’s not easy to imagine when there are very strong competitors such as Easy Digital Downloads.

What does this mean for WordPress and e-commerce?

The most obvious reading of this is that WordPress continues to grow and crush different sectors. This may prove to be a very strong blow against smaller rivals such as Magento, OpenCart and Prestashop. It also positions WordPress more effectively against SaaS rivals such as Shopify, Squarespace and Wix which have e-commerce already in their core offerings.

There was a really interesting quote on Hacker News about this acquisition:

I’m watching niche CMS industry after niche CMS industry crumble under the continual migration to WordPress. The latest victims are the small CMS vendors who have been selling proprietary CMS solutions to public school districts for the past 15 years, charging far too much money (your U.S. taxpayer dollars!) for barely functional CMS’s. The FCC voted recently to prohibit spending federal money on these solutions, a practice that basically created the market, so now every school district in the U.S. (14,000+) are looking around for cheaper and better solutions. A large percentage of them are migrating to WordPress.

In our predictions for 2015, we asked, “WordPress is enjoying an unparralled run of success. Can they possibly sustain growth for yet another year?”

Now that we’re reaching the middle of 2015, the answer so far is an unqualified, “Yes!”

Oh, and if you want to learn about WooCommerce, check out the WooCommerce Explained book!


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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Yaeger Design

This was a very smart move by Automattic! Their very first move will be to add e-commerce options to [url=][/url] customers in direct competition to Shopify and others. Their next move will be to integrate e-commerce into the WordPress core so as to be in direct competition with the other strictly e-commerce platforms. They will eventually control the entry-level, open source, e-commerce market! Just like WordPress transitioned from a Weblog platform to a CMS, it will transition from a CMS to an all-inclusive e-commerce platform.


Absolutely. It’s one of those acquisitions that makes such immediate sense that I though, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Dan Knauss

Great find there with the Hacker News quote.
Looks like Virtuemart has completely disappeared from the market share breakdown. They had 8% in 2012 and fell to 4% by 2014. How did that just get erased?
Surprisingly osCommerce is hanging in there, 15 years old, still with a minimum requirement of PHP 4.


LOL, OSCommerce is so old that it people forked into it into Magento and even that is going downhill now.

Dan Knauss

“Forked it into Magento?” What does that even mean? Seriously?
I recall Ubercart was supposed to be the big open source ecommerce engine coming out of Drupal, but then folks I knew who had been enthusiastic about it migrated to Magento. Its at .1% of the market now. What happened there?
Another question that maybe deserves a post of its own to mull over: What do you make of Dries’ acceptance of ecommerce as something that Drupal does not do — except in bespoke solutions integrated with separate ecommerce partners like Magento — and something WooCommerce will do “only” for small business users?


Hey Dan
The Magento team took the OSCommerce codebase as their starting point for Magento.
Ubercart? The mainstays of the team abandoned it for Drupal Commerce.
I think Dries would disagree regarding Drupal and e-commerce: [url=]…[/url] I know Acquia are betting big on commerce and personalization, in particular.
Still, Drupal’s commerce options are limited. Our most popular Drupal request is for a simple shopping cart, but that just doesn’t exist.


I really wish Joomla had a good ecommerce option.


Hi KarmicVisions


Hi Steve,

hikashop is way behind woocommerce…


I can’t say I really care for Hikashop, it might be the best of the options but the options aren’t so great.

Dan Knauss

Why is that your pick? It’s not a topic I have recent enough data on, so I have no opinions — just curious.

Dan Knauss




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