WordPress Theme Authors Experiment with New Pricing on ThemeForest


Envato has been rolling out author-driven pricing across ThemeForest categories throughout 2016. The new pricing options have finally hit the WordPress category and authors are now experimenting with pricing changes outside of the average $35-65 range.

Ben Chan, executive General Manager at Envato, explained why the company is extending author-driven pricing to ThemeForest after successfully launching it on GraphicRiver more than a year ago:

We’ve also come to understand that fixed, Envato-controlled pricing works as a disincentive for many authors and limits the community’s ability to respond to market trends. By moving to an author-driven model, we expect to see a greater range of high quality items, more creative pricing strategies, increased responsiveness to trends and happier customers.

Chan said ThemeForest anticipated authors may be concerned about a “race to the bottom,” which would make it impossible for for some authors to afford to sell on the marketplace. Positive results with GraphicRiver convinced Envato executives to expand author-driven pricing to its other marketplaces.

“Since we first launched author-driven pricing there (almost 12 months ago now), we’ve seen more and more authors experimenting with pricing, tailoring pricing to their work, and, most excitingly, achieving better results overall,” Chan said.

“We’ve also thought long and hard about the various commercial and community impacts for the specific ThemeForest context and we’ll be closely monitoring results.”

The pricing options became available to WordPress last week. Authors are experimenting with new prices ranging from $13 to $1,000,000, but it’s too early to make any conclusions about the impact on themes sold through Envato.

Pixelgrade, an Elite ThemeForest author with 35,622 sales, is one example of a shop that is experimenting with a significant price increase for one of its items. While most of the company’s products range from $59 – $64, the Pile theme is now priced at $225. In a comment on WPin’s post highlighting the pricing changes, Pixelgrade co-founder George Olaru said higher prices will attract a different type of customer.

“We do not necessarily see this change as a bold move, since the value added along with the customer service experience worth way more than $225…The type of customers that we will attract with this new price will also allow us to go even further and maintain a closer relationship with the people that are eager to join our journey,” Olaru said. “We’re not seeking random clients, we’re willing to consolidate and empower a relevant community for our creative products.”

Richard Tabor, founder of ThemeBeans, is another author experimenting with pricing one of his themes well above the average.

“I’m testing the waters as well by raising the prices of my themes on ThemeForest all to $59 as a baseline, and even one of them (a niche restaurant theme, Plate) to $199,” Tabor said. “Average earnings per day is up, though I have not sold any at the $199 price point as of yet.”

Outside of ThemeForest, author-driven pricing has served the wider commercial WordPress themes marketplace well and most independent theme shops command higher prices than those who sell via ThemeForest. They may not receive the same volume of customers as Envato does, but the lack of fixed pricing hasn’t triggered a race to the bottom or widespread pricing hikes in the open market.

ThemeForest authors are still shuffling pricing on their products after the recent changes. It’s too early to gauge how much impact author-driven pricing will have on Envato’s marketplace, but so far many authors are exploring modest increases that bring product price tags into the $60-70 range.


4 responses to “WordPress Theme Authors Experiment with New Pricing on ThemeForest”

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Firstly wanted to thank you for mentioning my blog WPin.me. With reference to ADP (Author Driven Pricing) time will be the real judge of things.

    The current user base on ThemeForest is a mixed bag, some will pay for quality and others will simply turn their noses up at higher prices.

    It’s going to be interesting that’s for sure, however the old saying ‘you buy cheap, you buy twice’ could be used in this case.

    It does empower theme / plugin developers to charge what they believe to be a fair price. It’s just a case of whether TF’s user base has deep pockets. Again time will tell.


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