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Upwork Revenue, User, and Growth Statistics (2021)

How much revenue does Upwork make? 

Upwork was founded in 2015 as a freelance platform when two existing freelance platforms, oDesk (founded in 2003) and Elance (founded in 1998), merged. 

Today, Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace platform in the world with a revenue of $374 million. The platform has 145,400 core clients and a Gross Services Volume (total marketplace transactions) of over $2.5 billion. 

Want to learn more? Read on to get the best Upwork revenue statistics in 2021 and find out more about Upwork users. 

Here’s what we’ll cover: 

Upwork statistics (top picks)

Upwork revenue 

Upwork revenue growth

Upwork Gross Services Volume

Upwork marketplace revenue 

Upwork freelance user statistics

Upwork employer user statistics

Upwork freelancer revenue

Upwork employer revenue

Is Upwork profitable? 

Upwork categories of work

Upwork CEO and board (diversity)

Upwork employees 

Upwork funding

Upwork vs Fiverr

Upwork Statistics (Top Picks)

  • The overall revenue from job postings on the platform amounted to 2.5 billion in 2020.
  • Upwork’s revenue was 373.63 million in 2020.
  • The revenue is, by Q2 in 2021, 362 million and it’s expected to grow to $490-$494 million in 2021.
  • 145,400 employers, who spend at least $5,000/year, use the platform. 
  • The biggest freelancing countries are the US, India, and the Philippines
  • In 2020, 85% of the revenue of Upwork’s overall job postings derived from larger engagements and complex projects. 
  • 30% of Fortune 100 companies use Upwork. 
  • Upwork has grown, year over year, by 22.4%

Upwork Revenue

Upwork is the biggest work marketplace in the world. 

Its revenue model is simple:

Clients (SMEs and enterprises) post freelance projects on the platform. Freelancers respond to these projects. When clients hire them, they pay a small processing fee (3%). Freelancers pay 20% on lifetime billings between $0-$500, 10% on lifetime billings between $500.01-$10,000, and 5% on $10,000.01 or more.  

Upwork’s revenue in 2020 was $373.63 million.

But what will Upwork’s revenue be in 2021? 

According to the two quarterly reports, Upwork has, so far, made: 

Q1 (2021)Q1 (2020)
$124.2 million$87.5 million
Q2 (2021) Q2 (2020)
$237.8 million$170.7 million

In 2021, Upwork expects to report a revenue of $490-$494 million

Sources: Upwork, Upwork

Upwork Revenue Growth

Year over year, Upwork has grown by 22.48% over the past 4 years. 

YearRevenue
2016$166.44 million 
2017$202.55 million
2018$235.35 million
2019$300.56 million
2020$373.63 million

Year-over-year growth

YearGrowth
201721.7%
201816.2%
201927.7%
202024.3%

In 2021, Upwork is expected to grow by 31.1%-24.4%

And what does the quarterly growth rate look like?

In 2020, Upwork’s revenue grew, on average, by 24% every quarter. 

In 2021, Upwork has so far grown by 91.5% quarter over quarter. 

Source: Upwork, Upwork

Upwork Gross Services Revenue

The Gross Services Volume (the overall revenue from transactions on the platform) was $2.5 billion in 2020. 

Here’s what GSV growth has looked like year over year:

YearGSV
20181.8 billion
20192.1 billion
20202.5 billion

Source: Upwork

Upwork Marketplace Revenue

Upwork’s marketplace revenue represents the majority of the company’s total revenue. It comprises freelancer service commissions and client payment processing and administration fees. 

In 2020, the marketplace revenue was 338.152 million

Year over year, here’s how marketplace revenue has grown: 

YearMarketplace revenue
2018$223.8 million
2019$268.3 million
2020$338.2 million

Upwork’s marketplace take rate (the amount of money that Upwork retains from overall marketplace transactions) is calculated by dividing marketplace revenue by total Gross Services Volume. 

In 2020, it was 13.6%

Here’s how Upwork’s take rate has evolved since 2016:

YearMarketplace take-rate
201612.3%
201713.2%
201813.0%
201913.1%
202013.6%

Source: Upwork 

Upwork Freelance User Statistics

Who uses Upwork? 

Upwork doesn’t disclose the number of freelancers on its platform. 

The latest figure is 16 million from 2018 (unconfirmed by Upwork).

In 2020, these freelancers made 2.3 billion on the platform.

The countries that generated the most money on the freelancer side in 2020:

CountryRate
USA60.86%
India33.11%
Philippines22.92%
Rest of the world109.81%

From 2016-2020, the revenue per country has grown as follows: 

2016

CountryRate
USA21.46%
India20%
Philippines13.39%
Rest of the world58.52%

2017

CountryRate
USA26.6%
India21.88%
Philippines14.76%
Rest of the world68.83%

2018

CountryRate
USA40.31%
India25.49%
Philippines17.06%
Rest of the world80.39%

2019

ContryRate
USA50.15%
India27.37%
Philippines19.66%
Rest of the world90.26%

2020

CountryRate
USA60.86%
India33.11%
Philippines22.92%
Rest of the world109.81%

As you can see, the US, India and the Philippines are Upwork’s core freelancing markets. 

Sources: Vox, Upwork, Statista

Upwork Employer User Statistics

145,400 core clients use Upwork. Core clients have spent at least $5,000 on Upwork and have had spend-activity on the marketplace in the last 12 months. 

How many jobs are posted on Upwork by these clients? Upwork doesn’t reveal any numbers, but it’s safe to assume there are plenty of job postings, considering that 2.5 billion flow through the platform. 

Core client growth over the year has been:

YearCore clientsGrowth
201786.4K12.9%
2018105.5K22.1%
2019124.4K17.9%
2020145.4K16.9%

30% of clients are Fortune 100 companies. 

Sources: Upwork, Upwork

Upwork Freelancer Revenue

Upwork made $226.7 million from freelancers in 2020. In other words, Upwork makes most of its $373.63 million revenue from the freelancer side (67.86%). 

Freelancers pay a commission on their earnings (between 5-20%), as well as withdrawal fees, tokens to apply for jobs, and membership fees. 

Source: Upwork 

Upwork Employer Revenue

Around a third of Upwork’s revenue comes from employers, $146.93 million

Client spend retention (the amount core clients spent in the last 12 months compared to the previous year) was 102% in 2020. In 2019, it was 102% and in 2018 108%.

80% of Upwork’s Gross Services Volume comes from 20% of its clients.

Source: Upwork 

Is Upwork Profitable?

No, Upwork is not profitable. 

In 2020, its net losses were 22.9 million

Year over year, net losses have fluctuated. Here are Upwork’s net losses from 2016-2020:

YearNet losses
2016$16.2 million
2017$4.1 million
2018$19.9 million
2019$16.7 million
2020$22.9 million

Source: Upwork 

Upwork Categories of Work

Freelancers offer 10,000 skills on Upwork in 90+ categories of work. 

The most popular categories are: 

  • Website and app development 
  • Client support
  • Consulting 
  • Creative & Design 
  • Finance & accounting
  • Operations

Source: Upwork

Upwork CEO and Board (Diversity)

Upwork’s CEO since January 1st, 2020, Hayden Brown, is female, as are 50% of Upwork’s board of directors. 38% are from underrepresented communities. 

Source: Upwork

Upwork Employees

In 2020, Upwork had 540 employees.

The sales team makes up almost half of the workforce, 250 team members. 

In 2019, the platform had 570 employees and in 2018, it had 430 employees. 

Upwork also engages plenty of freelancers. In 2020, it worked with 1,500 freelancers. 

In 2018, the number was 1,000 and in 2019, 1,200. In other words, the number of freelancers contracted by the company has increased by around 20% every year. 

Source: Upwork

Upwork Funding

Upwork has received $168.8 million in funding in 12 funding rounds. Currently, Upwork is listed on Nasdaq with a share price of $51.16.

Source: Crunchbase, Upwork

Upwork vs Fiverr

One of Upwork’s biggest competitors is Fiverr. But how do the two platforms compare? 

Fiverr was founded in 2010. The platform had 3.42 million active buyers in 2020 (compared to Upwork’s 145,400). 

However, Upwork processes more transactions each year. In 2020, Fiverr processed $699.3 million worth of transactions, which can be compared to Upwork’s $2.5 billion. 

Fiverr’s revenue was $189.51 million in 2020. Upwork’s revenue was $373.63 million.

That said, here’s what Upwork’s growth looked like between 2018-2020:

YearGrowth
201816.2%
201927.7%
202024.3%

At the same time, Fiverr grew much faster in that same timespan:

YearGrowth
201844.9%
201941.8%
202077%

Buyers on Fiverr spent an average of $205 in 2020. Upwork only reports what its core clients spend and that’s $5,000 a year (if all users are taken into consideration, this number could be far lower). 

Currently, Upwork trades for $51.16 per share, Fiverr at $249

For the time being, Upwork’s revenue is almost double the amount of Fiverr’s revenue. But Fiverr is growing faster. The question is: will Upwork succeed in positioning itself for enterprises and that way, not compete with Fiverr for most of its users? And will Fiverr succeed in growing past Upwork, while keeping its focus on smaller projects? 

Source: Fiverr

Conclusion

That’s it! There you have my roundup of Upwork user and revenue statistics in 2021.

Upwork is the world’s biggest work marketplace with users in 180+ countries. 

At the same time, it hasn’t achieved profitability yet. And it faces competition from other work marketplaces like Fiverr. 

Do you think Upwork will remain the biggest work marketplace? 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

upwork revenue and growth

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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