Roben Kleene

Sketch & Figma's Market Share

Sketch, released in 2010, is the elephant in the room for interface design. Figma, released in 2016, is the up-and-comer in this space1. Sketch is a Mac-only native app, Figma is a browser-based tool with a desktop Electron app. After the rise of Electron-based editors, this is the next battleground for the soul of desktop apps. surveys designers about which tools they use (much like Stackoverflow Insights does with developers). They have two years of data so far, here’s what their market-share numbers look like for these tools2:

  1. 2017, Sketch 45%, Figma 7%
  2. 2018, Sketch 70%, Figma 21%

What’s most interesting about these numbers, is that while Figma has experienced over 200% growth, Sketch actually gained more market share percentage points, by a wide margin (25% vs. +14%)3, making it difficult to guess how this will play out.

Personally, I think web apps like Figma, are better for collaboration, since then everyone can always be looking at the latest design, but native apps are better for solo work, where personal productivity is the highest priority. An ideal workflow would be mainly working in Sketch but exporting to Figma to collaborate. The question at stake here is whether collaboration is so important that it will just end up subsuming all other concerns (like it has for spreadsheets and word processors with Google Docs).

  1. Figma has been venture funded since the beginning, whereas Sketch was originally bootstrapped, but recently took a series A round (presumably as competition heats up from Figma). ↩︎

  2. These numbers are for the user-interface design category because, as a software developer, that’s the category I’m most interested in. ↩︎

  3. Each respondent can choose multiple tools in this survey, so the same people can be voting for both Sketch and Figma. ↩︎