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Home > Tools March 23rd, 2016

Adobe Creative Cloud Adoption Grows to 12 Million Paid Members

Adobe Creative Cloud Growth Now Reaches 12 Million Paid Subscribers (Shown Quarterly Since Launch)

[UPDATE (December 2017) – Analysts now estimate the total number of Creative Cloud customers to be approx. 12 million in 2017: “We expect Adobe to end the year with 12 million subscribers for its CC services, which translates into a year-on-year growth rate of 29%”.]

Adobe’s Creative Cloud has been available for several years now and continues to gain strong adoption in the marketplace, the latest published figures show.

Lately the rate of paid memberships has approached almost 1 million per quarter – adding 798,000 new subscribers in the past quarter alone (or 57,000 new customers each week) – which means that total number of subscribers has now reached 12 million since the CC product line replaced Creative Suite in June 2013.

Prior to the original launch of CC, Adobe had an installed base of 12.8 million customers using different versions of the older CS tools, which had been built up over a decade… The new subscription figures show that they have attained most that user base for the new Creative Cloud products in the space of just a few years, at a steadily faster pace – a rather impressive uptake.

With the way thing are going, it is quite possible that Creative Cloud paid membership could surpass the previous 13 million user base entirely in the near future. That is very powerful, because all subscribers would be running and collaborating with the same creative software release, the latest-and-greatest available.

Adobe stopped selling CS6 online but the Creative Cloud compares favorably on almost all measures and is one of the company’s highest-rated major products ever – likely because it gives access to almost everything they make, all for one easy price with no steep upfront costs.

From Adobe’s third quarter conference call:

In Digital Media, the transition to subscriptions is happening faster than expected. Creative Cloud has become the de facto platform for all creatives, providing the tools and services to fulfill every creative need. We are migrating existing customers from our Creative Suite installed base, as well as attracting large numbers of new users with strong adoption across our Individual, Team and Enterprise offerings.

Continuous innovation is the hallmark of Creative Cloud and the catalyst for our retention and growth. Creative Cloud innovation is forging ahead in the mobile space, where our mission is to help creatives bridge their desktop and mobile design processes into a seamless creative workflow. Our plan to deliver new value through compelling services such as Adobe Stock to augment our desktop and mobile applications is off to a strong start. We will continue to deliver new services, and partner with the broader ecosystem to make Creative Cloud the one-stop shop for creative inspiration.

Highlights in our recent quarter include accelerating adoption of Creative Cloud, driven by strong net new CC subscription additions. Across all routes to market, we continue to see solid demand for Creative Cloud, with large portions of our legacy perpetual customers moving to a subscription model. In addition, we are now migrating significant numbers of hobbyist customers who previously used Photoshop Elements and Lightroom on a perpetual basis to the Creative Cloud Photography offering. And we are seeing on that the vast, vast majority of people who are buying Acrobat DC are buying the subscription option.

You can read the complete transcript here.  To get started today with all the new CC 2019 tools and services, you can download a free trial instantly here:

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!

And the following comes from an earlier conference call:

In our Digital Media segment, we continued to make great progress with our Creative Cloud service as customer adoption proceeds more quickly than we anticipated. Subscriptions have grown faster than expected and, as a result, perpetual Creative revenue has fallen off more quickly. In addition to paid members, we currently have millions of customers who are trying out the free service.

In addition to success with Creative Cloud for Individuals, Creative Cloud for Teams also had strong results, growing 62% quarter-over-quarter. Teams and groups of creatives are realizing the collaboration benefits from being on the same version and the ability to seamlessly share files, fonts and preferences, and enterprises are increasing their adoption due to simplified licensing models and integration with Adobe Marketing Cloud’s digital asset management capabilities.

The Creative Cloud offering continues to evolve to ensure that we are satisfying our existing subscribers and attracting new members. In the surveys that we are doing, over 20% of the user base who are adopting the Creative Cloud are completely new customers for us. Last fall, we introduced the CC Photography Plan, providing Photoshop and Lightroom via Creative Cloud to professional photographers and hobbyists at an affordable monthly price. Uptake on this offer has been strong, and we believe adding these users is accretive to our long-term goals.

The company sees even greater CC growth ahead:

Our strategic goal continues to be to accelerate adoption of Creative Cloud, and we are focusing all of our innovation there. We’ve added thousands of new and improved features to Creative Cloud since CS6 came out in 2012, which is driving higher customer satisfac­tion. What’s more, we experienced strong retention among individual customers renewing at full price as their introductory promotions expired. And so we’re pleased so far with what we are seeing in terms of renewal rates, which are above what we originally modeled.

It’s nice to see that we’re ahead of the metrics we forecast, not just the annual numbers we provided last year, but the analyst meeting in November 2011 as well when we started this transition. And we reflect that no company has gone through a transition of this magnitude. And for us to be ahead of our goals I think demonstrates the value we’re providing to our customers. And the confidence in both the strategy and our ability to execute enables us to be optimistic about our growth prospects for the next three years.

You can read that full transcript here.

Related: Do you believe any of these? The 10 Most Common Myths About Creative Cloud

Quick Look at What’s New in CC 2017

For more details, see:  What’s the Difference Between CC 2017 vs. CS6 & Older?

See Also

Get New CC 2018 Direct Download Links: All Free Trials

Do you have any questions about Creative Cloud?  Check out our extensive Creative Cloud FAQ, or just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. Anonymous
  2. Barbara Helfer

    Of those 12 million monthly users. What percentage of those users are on PCs?


    • Adobe doesn’t say. Creative Cloud subscribers can run the CC software on Windows or Mac computers, or both (one of each).

      Historically, Mac usage within the Adobe community has been disproportionately high. Meaning, a lot of Adobe creative customers do use Macs, almost as many as use Windows.

  3. James


    We recently moved to CC in our studio (beginning of 2017).

    I also have it at home. For the most part I’m very happy with it.

    However I do have one gripe regarding the pricing:

    CC for individuals in Ireland is €61.49 (annual plan paid, paid monthly)

    CC for individuals in Ireland is €737.85 (annual plan, prepaid)

    The first option above totals €737.88 over the twelve months.

    My question where is the incentive to purchase an annual, prepaid option when you’re only saving 3c?!

    Surely a better option would be:

    Purchase a prepaid option and get say one month or two months free.

    This would greatly incentivise people to purchase a prepaid option.

    Just my 2 (or in this case) 3 cents.

    – James

  4. Any idea what percentage (or number) of that 12 million subscribers are InDesign users, i.e., print-focused?

  5. Rose

    So, may I say it, maximum of the users are taking Photoshop CC in 2017?

  6. Benjamin P.

    “Adobe’s Creative Cloud has been available for several years now and continues to gain strong adoption in the marketplace, the latest published figures show.”

    It seemed to be more a panacea for shareholders than a real monument in pushing the creative media industry forward. Please stop doing as such. This is merely a confirming step toward an inevitable Adobe SaaS model that I feel will eventually do away with those silly *classic* apps. Right? No?

    While words like “monopoly” should not be thrown lightly, that’s really all I see when there’s an article lauding Adobe CC growth. Adobe has a established a “cultural monopoly” far stronger than any business model could achieve. One where a “real designer/photographer/UX designer/ Mongolian-lazer-puppet-pantone-designer” ought to be using Adobe.

    To be honest, I’ve grown up with Adobe software; and Macromedia as well. it’s near and dear to my heart. As an industry professional, there’s nothing out there that can lift a finger at Adobe. Then Adobe purchased MM after that convenient UI lawsuit debacle-thing, it was disappointingly clear that the one true rival of Adobe was deleted.

    If I need to do the things I need to do in my profession, I *have* to subscribe to CC in some form. And God forbid if I ever go unemployed for more than 30 days. I’d literally be deadlocked out of approximately 75% of my work files. You know, the ones I’d need access to to, like get another job. But hey, creative professionals never have dry spells, amirite? And to counter with “just go down to the one app for $9.99 argument” just sounds like you’re telling me to go eat cake.

    I didn’t intend to write an anti-Adobe Salamander letter. But I’m just sad to see that to feel I have full control of my work, I need to either go back to CS6 (YES < I HAVE A LICENSE FOR IT) and Windows 7, or dump my 22 years of Adobe knowledge and find other less-draconian applications with more rational models that feels more equitable to both the users and the developers.

  7. Sonya

    @Benjamin P.
    Sorry to inform you, but I have CS6 and NO control over my work. I have created most of the top designs that have became mainstream in the last several years and without ever uploading a file, sharing nor saving it to cloud they still manage to become part of Adobe’s stock images, used on in video games, used for operating systems and the list goes on. 1.02 TBs created since 2010 all of which are making everyone but me money.

    It is in the CS6 license agreement that Adobe collects and can use your work… They have intellectual property lawyers and an agreement that we MUST accept in order to use a product that we pay to use. And no one is regulating much less limiting this “data collection,” so much like me you’re pretty much screwed.

    • Sonya, this is patently false. It’s absolutely not true that Adobe would ever commercially use or sell any customer’s work without their full consent and agreement. It simply does not happen, and is definitely not in the product licensing agreement.

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