Today, we’re proud to officially launch the ProfitWell Subscription Index—a dataset to keep you up to date on subscription market trends and the status of the B2B SaaS vertical as it stands today.
Listen wherever you get podcasts:
How is B2B SaaS growth trending over time?
📈7 day +0.41% | 📈30 day +0.52% | 📈90 day +4.01%
We're looking at an aggregate of all B2B SaaS companies on ProfitWell with their monthly recurring revenue (MRR) tracked since February 2020. The index mixes in companies of all sizes, types, etc.—although outliers are removed—measuring how the total B2B SaaS market is growing/shrinking over time.
We’ve seen pretty steady growth throughout 2019 and into February 2020, but we’re now seeing the market flatline as the world deals with the effects of a global pandemic. We see a bit of a spike in growth again beginning earlier this month, but it's likely too early to tell whether this marks the start of our recovery or we're in for the long haul.
How are churn and new revenue trending over time?
MRR LOSS +0.08%
Below, we're looking at lost revenue of all B2B SaaS companies on ProfitWell, indexed from January 2020 to present day. Note that each data point represents a seven-day growth rate, which controls for seasonality.
Here, we're looking at new revenue for all B2B SaaS companies on ProfitWell, indexed from January 2020 to present day. Each data point here also represents a seven-day growth rate, which controls for seasonality.
About the ProfitWell Subscription Index
In turbulent times, we turn to the experts.
But what do you do when “expert advice” is all over the place?
We're a team of entrepreneurs and operators, just like you, navigating the same unprecedented economic situation, so we came together to launch the ProfitWell Subscription Index—a daily dataset to help you better understand where the market is headed.
We've aggregated the data from thousands of ProfitWell users to map out information you can use in the greater calculus of what direction your company should take—every single day.
From cutting costs to investing, the ProfitWell Index serves as a data point for clearer market prediction. With it, we’re sending you insight into overall growth patterns, as well as a look from the perspective of revenue gain and loss, so you can react in real time. Because we have insight into more recurring revenue companies than anyone else on the planet, and we'd be remiss not to spread the knowledge.
Remember, we will update and analyze your index every morning on the show, so you can keep in the know when it’s needed most. Be sure to share the data with friends, colleagues, and fellow industry players that could use it right now. You can send me their email address to email@example.com and I’ll get them on the list.
PC: When you look at index data, the market has a big contribution to how you act or react. As consumers, we look at the market and we say, ‘Oh, the market’s down.' And even though it’s not directly connected to us, we make decisions based on it because it’s an indicator. It’s sometimes seen as a lagging indicator and sometimes seen as a leading indicator of where the market or the economy is going.
If we look at the ProfitWell Index on a daily or weekly basis and we notice over 10 or 15 days that things are going down, and it seems to be going down at a very rapid pace in our vertical, we can make decisions based on that (or at least add that to the calculus of all the other information we’re considering to contingency plan).
I think that’s really where the strength is, in the recency of this data. Because historically, the market data that a lot of private SaaS and subscription companies would look at was basically the earnings of the public companies that exist. And those only come out on a quarterly basis. If you’re having to wait one or two quarters to decide, ‘Oh, I need to make cuts or I need to cut costs because the market is showing that it’s going to go down,’ it might be too late.
Abby: I’ve seen several companies offer their own version of this, with data from sources I'm unaware of. How is ProfitWell’s different?
PC: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think that, for us, the data integrity is a huge, huge thing. And before I even get into this, I want to say this: You should be using as much data and information as possible to make informed decisions. If someone is publishing ad revenue data and another person is publishing, ‘Here’s what’s going on with hires’ and things like that, in certain verticals, use all of that information—plus the ProfitWell Index.
But I think, for us, the big difference is, data integrity is such an important thing to us. This isn’t survey data. This is the actual revenue data of essentially 20% of the entire subscription market that we are able to track on a daily basis and report on a daily basis in order for people to see what the trends are doing. It’s hard to make predictions, but it allows you to understand exactly what’s going on in real time, so you can make these decisions.”
Abby: Is the index useful for companies of all sizes?
PC: Yes. We have Jonny and Jane startups all the way up to Fortune 50 Companies on ProfitWell—and we obviously took out a bunch of the outliers.
I think it’s useful, again, as input into the greater calculus that these companies have in terms of making decisions. So I think that, just depending on the decision-making process, this is good input—whether you’re a small or large company–because it’s what’s happening within the industry.
Abby: As someone who’s very much in the thick of it, you’ve said previously that you think companies should plan for 18 months out. Where do you predict the market is going?
PC: As you know, economists are really good at making predictions in the past, not necessarily in the future. And I try to abide by that joke, because it’s so hard given that this is such an unprecedented situation.
I think that if we look at past markets and past downturns—we had a blip in 2012, a blip in 2014, and obviously in 2008 and 2001 there were big downturns—what’s really fascinating is that the fundamentals of the U.S. and global economy were not amazing, but they were pretty okay, if not good.
It’s a weird situation where, if you look at economic crises, you have two main avenues those come from: One is a liquidity crisis like we saw in 2008. The other is a movement of money crisis, like in 1987 or 1929, when they weren’t able to move money properly and people weren’t able to buy things. Since we didn't have that, but instead we had a pandemic basically slow or instantly stop the economy, which has never happened, it’s hard to predict anything.
Now, if we’re basing off past experiences, I think that, yes, you should realize that regardless of the cause, a quarter of instant stoppage means there’s going to be a lagging quarter or two quarters of recovery that will take place. The economy is going to recover probably in the tail end of Q2 in certain areas, globally in Q3. And it’s still not going to be amazing, because there might still be some stop and start (we don’t really know where the COVID situation is going to go) that you're probably going to end up needing 18 months.
That’s a bit of a stake in the ground, though. We haven’t seen crises of this size, or perceived as this size, last longer than 18 months, at least for initial recovery. But 18 months gives you a long enough runway so you can see stuff coming. If we notice in three to six months that this is getting so much worse, then you might need 24 to 48 months, but it’s one of those things where we’re planning for 18 so you can see what's coming and make those changes.
That’s what went into my mindset there. I will say, on a more micro level, I do think that in the next six to eight weeks we’re going to see a surge, in a good way, where people have kind of adjusted to this new normal and they go back to purchasing [in B2B]. I think the issue that's going to come with that surge (even if it’s small), is the question: Is it going to sustain? Or are we then going to see another downturn of the people who should have cut costs now (or seven weeks ago)?
So, there are some things to chew on. I’m always up for talking about this further, but those are some things to think through for the time being.
Abby: That's a wrap. Thanks, PC.
There you have it, your April 30 special edition episode of Recur Now. Back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
This series is a Recur Studios production—the fastest-growing subscription network out there. If you find use for this show, subscribe for more like it atprofitwell.com/recur.