FileMaker Trends

FileMaker Sales Information

How many copies of FileMaker software are there in the wild? And how many are FMI selling each year?

FileMaker supply a corporate fact sheet ([PDF] April 7, 2016) and there wss additional information in the executive profile of Dominique Goupil (date unknown but not updated between March 2011 & December 2013). From these we know that:

  1. there are "more than 24 million units of FileMaker client software delivered"
  2. the company "serves an install base of more than eight million customers"
  3. "FileMaker has shipped more than a million software units in each of its two last fiscal years"

There is insufficient information publicly available to investigate the second claim, but for the first, and hence the third, it is possible to cobble together some sort of history of the total number of units shipped.

Going back in time: on three occasions FileMaker Inc. have issued press releases stating the sales for a version or financial year:

  1. "Customers bought about 1.2 million copies" in 2000 (linked document no longer available)
  2. "exceeded 750,000 sales" in 11 months for FileMaker 5.5
  3. "Over 1 million copies of FileMaker Pro 7 shipped" (linked document no longer available)

In addition to publicly stating sales figures for FM 5.5 & 7 FileMaker have, on a number of occasions, issued statements giving the total number of units shipped in press releases.

Date Units shipped
November 11, 1999 3
May 5, 2001 6.75
  • Version 5.5 released
  • Extrapolated from 7.5 million (750k v5.5) shipped
  • 1.2 million shipped between Oct. 1, 1999 and Sept. 30, 2000
April 8, 2002 7.5
  • 7.5 million units shipped
  • 750k units of version 5.5 shipped
March 9, 2004 9
March 9, 2005 10
  • 1 million units of FileMaker 7 shipped
March 10, 2006 11
August 8, 2006 12
  • Linked document no longer available
  • Version 8.5 (Chinese) released
  • Nearly 12 million
  • Version 8.5 released July 10, 2006
July 7, 2007 13
  • Version 9 released
January 5, 2009 14
  • Version 10 released
September 2, 2009 15
  • Linked document has been updated
  • Corporate fact sheet, September 2009
September 1, 2010 16
  • Version 11 released March 9, 2010
July, 2013 18
  • Version 12 released April 4, 2012
  • Corporate fact sheet, July 2013
December 4, 2013 20
  • Version 13 released December 4, 2013
  • Corporate fact sheet, December 2013
April 7, 20136 24
  • Corporate fact sheet, April 7, 2016

Note: the date given is the earliest date found for a report of shipping the relevant number of units.

Charting the values over time gives:

Millions of Units of FileMaker Software Shipped

Three things are immediately apparent:

  1. there is a noticeably larger number of units shipped for version 5 than for subsequent releases

  2. the rate of increase from version 5.5 onward is remarkably consistent (a graph of FileMaker's actual sales would not be this smooth; sales for software tend to look rather like a saw-tooth, with quick rise to a peak shortly after the launch of a new version followed by a consistent decrease in sales over time until the next release).

  3. there is a sharp increase in unit shipped between during 2013 and there is an increased rate after than

To examine the first of these: the large number of units shipped for version 5 may indicate a very successful release, but it seems likely, particularly in light of the consistency across later versions, that other factors may be at work.

  1. It's possible that although it's given as "three million units" the number is much closer to 4 than 3 million.
  2. The way the number of units is calculated may have changed: for example including FileMaker Server, Unlimited and Developer; or including upgrades rather than just new sales.
  3. The period covers Y2K
  4. The shift from sales of boxed product towards licensing and maintenance agreements.
  5. Site license and volume purchasing agreements tend to inflate the number of units sold since for most organisations there comes a point at which it makes more sense to move to the next tier for pricing reasons.

    It's not clear if sales of the renewal of annual licenses and volume license maintenance agreements are included, but these would also inflate the number of units shipped. With boxed software a customer may purchase a copy and then, a couple of years later, purchase an upgrade… giving two sales across 4 or 5 years. With a site license or a maintenance agreement there is a sale every year as the agreement is is renewed.

For the the third point: in part this is due to the lengthy gap between the announcements of 16 and 18 million units having shipped, the latter figure was reached earlier than the public announcements indicate. But much of the increase is because the most recent values are not directly comparable to previous ones. From the corporate fact sheet, "more than 24 million units of FileMaker client software delivered, including over 2 million downloads of FileMaker Go"; previous fact sheets used the wording "more than XX million units shipped" [of FileMaker Pro]. Adjusting this for compatibility with previously announced figures give a total of 22 million (approx.) bringing the increase back into line.

Excluding the anomalous (first) value, adjusting for shipments of FileMaker Go, and fitting a trend (least squares linear regression) line gives:

Millions of Units of FileMaker Software Shipped

This provides a very good fit and a mean value for the number of units shipped each year approximately 1 million (±62k), in line with public statements.

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© 2016 Mark Banks. Last modified: August 2, 2016