Adobe is stepping up its efforts to reach out to a core audience of design professionals in an effort to protect its long-standing dominance of the industry from emerging competition from upstarts.
The maker of Photoshop has launched Creative Cloud Express, a suite of products aimed at making it easier for users to create graphics, videos and other types of digital content. It is an extension of Spark, a product introduced in 2016 with a similar purpose, but with more limited capabilities.
“This is a really interesting and important start for us on a long journey,” said David Wadhwani, chief commercial officer and executive vice president of digital media at Adobe.
Adobe, now one of the 30 Most Valuable Companies in the World, has long been the market leader in authoring software. Products like Photoshop and Illustrator remain fundamental tools for graphic design professionals. This dominance has helped fuel stocks to rise more than 500% over the past five years. But Adobe is under new pressure from Sydney-based software maker Canva, which is now valued at $ 40 billion.
Canva’s growth engine is an expanding market for design software outside of the legacy business customer base. A wider audience, like social media influencers, small business owners, and marketers, are looking for tools to create and share content faster on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s a market that, according to Adobe’s estimates, could reach $ 41 billion in 2023.
“Children are three times more likely to say they want to be YouTube stars than astronauts,” Wadhwani said. “There is a societal shift in engaging authentically with people on digital. And what fuels that engagement is the ability to create content.
The launch of the new express product, along with Adobe’s recent acquisition of ContentCal, is a response to these changing dynamics and the growing popularity of Canva.
Free and subscription
“I’m surprised it took them this long to do it,” said Chris Ross, analyst at Gartner. “Canva has validated this market space in a pretty massive way. “
Adobe will offer a free version of the new suite of products with predefined templates as well as a subscription offer, which will include more tools. Customers who already pay for Creative Cloud, a bundle of products that includes Photoshop, will also get free access.
However, the key to Adobe’s revenue growth in this market will be the ability to move free users to the paid version, as well as more expensive offerings.
“As we put things into the products, does it increase engagement? If so, we’ll overtake it, ”Wadhwani said. “We have this unique opportunity to start testing frictionless flows in Creative Cloud. “
Adobe is already experimenting with this. In October, for example, the company launched a test run of a fully web-based version of Photoshop and Illustrator. – Joe Williams, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP