The Industries That Use APIs and Why They Matter

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Diagram showing industries that use APIs

Most organizations are prioritizing digital transformation to remain competitive. To achieve this competitive advantage, the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) is skyrocketing — and not just among tech companies. Today, there are many industries that use APIs, some of the most prominent ones are E-commerce, healthcare, government, manufacturing, and financial services.

APIs are being implemented across nearly every industry to satisfy the internal needs of companies, meet consumer expectations, and ensure regulatory standards. Whether you're in telecommunications, manufacturing, healthcare, or one of many other fields, now is the time to join the industries that use APIs to avoid getting left behind. 

Here's the key things to know about the industries that use APIs:

  • APIs are crucial in digital transformation, widely adopted across various industries beyond just tech giants like Amazon and Google.
  • The concept of an "API Economy" is gaining momentum, with industries such as healthcare, financial services, and entertainment leveraging APIs for regulation and innovation.
  • Significant financial investment in digital transformation, with APIs at the core, is evident with a projected $6.8 billion spend from 2020 to 2023.
  • APIs are essential in diverse sectors, enhancing customer experiences and operational efficiency, from travel and transportation to streaming services in entertainment.
  • The growing priority of APIs in professional sectors is highlighted by a survey, where a significant percentage of respondents from industries like financial services and software development consider API integration a top priority.

Table of Contents:

The Use of APIs Is on the Rise

Application programming interfaces are the building blocks of digital transformation. They also play a pivotal role in the most successful digital companies. Whether your goal is to enable better mobile experiences or encourage greater connectivity on the web, APIs open many doors. 

Although many companies are now adopting an "API economy" mindset, this concept is over a decade old — and no longer only applies to companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Companies of all sizes, across all industries, are now seeing the value of APIs. For example, industries such as healthcare and financial services use APIs because of regulation, whereas others, like media, retail, and entertainment, use APIs for disruption. 

There are now more and more industries that use APIs. So, the mandate of an API economy is no longer a question of if but how

More companies have prioritized digital transformation than ever before in recent years, with APIs at the core of their strategies. IDC predicts that spending on these projects will reach $6.8 billion between 2020 and 2023, resulting from a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5%. 

Discover 5 reasons why your business needs APIs and how you can get started with DreamFactory. 

Some of the Top Industries That Use APIs

As of 2022, APIs are no longer only for tech companies. Industries that use APIs are experiencing the value of digital transformation, building a competitive edge. 

Research shows that more and more industries are now adopting APIs, and rightfully so. Any industry that relies on accurate, actionable, and timely data — a long list —will benefit from API integration. Of the industries that use APIs, companies can achieve a wide range of industry-specific objectives, building APIs based on their unique operations and objectives. 

For example, the travel and transportation industry uses third-party APIs to show you the best hotel and airline deals. An API then confirms your booking with the hotel or airline you choose. 

Another example is streaming services in the entertainment industry. Companies like Netflix have implemented API usage to help their customers discover content they'll enjoy, enhancing the user experience. From banking to the automotive industry, APIs are everywhere. 

The State of APIs survey collected 2,200 responses from over 130 countries. Many of these respondents were professional developers. Among these respondents, 59.3% said participating in the API economy is a top priority, and an additional 17.7% plan to prioritize APIs soon. 

Of those who are already making APIs a top priority:

  • 67.1% work in financial services
  • 61.2% work in software development/internet 
  • 60.0% work in manufacturing 
  • 59.2% work in telecommunications 
  • 55.6% work in healthcare
  • 52.8% work in professional services 
  • 44.4% work in the government 

API Use Cases 

Specific industries are leading the way concerning API development and implementation. In some cases, this is based on mandatory implementation (e.g., healthcare and financial services). However, APIs are now crucial for many businesses, ranging from Uber to Stripe and Salesforce to Twilio.

Depending on your industry, APIs have varying roles. Here are a few examples of how APIs contribute to several industries. 


Over the past two decades, the e-commerce industry has exploded. The rise of SaaS, mobile, cloud, big data, social media, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other technologies has changed consumers' expectations, especially after the pandemic. To ensure an optimal customer experience, APIs are unifying data to achieve omnichannel commerce. 

For example, APIs connect e-commerce platforms with several backend systems, such as a company's customer relationship management (CRM) or point-of-sale (POS) system. 

Learn more about how the DreamFactory API platform helped this print shop enable communication between a backend MYSQL database, the shop floor, and a proprietary e-commerce portal.

DreamFactory can help your company build modern API-driven apps in record time. Read more stories here


Recent regulations drove several industry-specific adoptions of APIs, such as within the healthcare industry. For example, the 21st Century Cures Act requires healthcare providers to allow patients to access their personal information. Those that do not comply may not be able to participate in Medicare. To meet these standards, organizations and healthcare providers are adopting APIs.

There are several examples of how the healthcare industry works with DreamFactory to achieve various goals. From patient kiosks to insurance claims, APIs are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Of the industries that use APIs, healthcare is evolving rapidly. 


More intelligent production processes are driving the manufacturing industry, with a core focus on modernization, functionality, optimization, and automation. However, the average manufacturing supply chain still lacks the level of digitalization to take the manufacturing ecosystem to the next level. By implementing APIs, manufacturing companies can connect with and serve customers better, grow partnerships, empower employees, innovate, and benefit from real-time monitoring. 

RelatedTransforming a Manufacturing Chain? Consider the Benefits of APIs

APIs in Emerging Technologies

In the arena of emerging technologies, APIs stand as pivotal enforcers, seamlessly bridging gaps and fostering innovation. As we navigate through this era of rapid technological advancement, APIs are not just facilitators; they are catalysts transforming the abstract into the tangible.

Blockchain and APIs: APIs serve as vital conduits in blockchain. They allow applications to interact with blockchain data in a more digestible format. For instance, cryptocurrency wallets utilize APIs to fetch transaction data and balance updates from various blockchain networks.

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR): APIs are playing a critical role in content creation and distribution in the AR/VR Industry. They enable developers to pull data from different sources, enhancing the immersive experience with real-time information. For example, in an AR-based educational app, APIs could fetch historical data or scientific facts to overlay onto real-world objects, creating an interactive learning experience.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Here, APIs are the unsung heroes. They provide developers with access to complex AI and machine learning models without the need for extensive expertise in these fields. This accessibility is crucial for small businesses and startups, allowing them to implement advanced features like image recognition, natural language processing, or predictive analytics, which were once the exclusive domain of tech giants.

Internet of Things (IoT): In the sprawling ecosystem of IoT, APIs are the glue that binds disparate devices and platforms. They enable different IoT devices to communicate and share data, creating a cohesive network. This interconnectedness is pivotal for realizing the full potential of smart homes, smart cities, and industrial IoT applications.

This burgeoning integration of APIs in emerging technologies is not without its challenges. Security, for one, is a paramount concern. As APIs become more prevalent, they increasingly become targets for cyber-attacks. Ensuring robust security protocols is not just advisable; it's imperative. As we integrate APIs with these cutting-edge technologies, we must also consider the scalability and reliability of these systems. They must be designed to handle increasing loads and to function seamlessly, ensuring consistent user experiences.

DreamFactory Can Help You Achieve More 

DreamFactory can help you integrate everything with auto-generated APIs regardless of your industry. 

DreamFactory offers simple API generation and comprehensive API management, yielding endless features and benefits. From instant API creation to application deployment, with DreamFactory, you can now connect your enterprise data sources with ease. 

Have questions about the industries that use APIs? Want to learn more about APIs can benefit your business? Please speak to our integration experts and request a demo today!

FAQ: The Rising Use of APIs in Various Industries

What is an API and why is it important in digital transformation?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of protocols and tools for building software applications. It plays a crucial role in digital transformation by allowing different software programs to communicate with each other, thereby enhancing functionality and creating new business opportunities.

What is meant by the term "API Economy"?

The "API Economy" refers to the commercial exchange of business functions, capabilities, or competencies via APIs. It signifies a shift in how businesses leverage technology, emphasizing the use of APIs to extend services and improve customer experiences.

How are APIs transforming industries beyond big tech companies?

APIs are transforming a wide range of industries by enabling better data integration, improving customer experiences, and fostering innovation. Industries like healthcare, finance, retail, and entertainment are using APIs for various purposes, including regulatory compliance, personalization of services, and operational efficiency.

What was the projected spending on digital transformation projects involving APIs from 2020 to 2023?

The projected spending on digital transformation projects involving APIs was estimated to reach $6.8 billion between 2020 and 2023, indicating a significant investment in API-driven technologies across industries.

How are APIs enhancing customer experiences in different sectors?

In sectors like travel and entertainment, APIs enhance customer experiences by providing more personalized and efficient services. For example, in the travel industry, APIs are used to offer real-time booking information, while in entertainment, they help in content personalization and recommendations.

What industries are prioritizing API integration, according to recent surveys?

Industries prioritizing API integration include financial services, software development, manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, and professional services. This trend highlights the widespread recognition of the importance of APIs in various professional sectors.

Can you give examples of how APIs are used in specific industries?

In the healthcare industry, APIs are used to comply with regulations like the 21st Century Cures Act and to enhance patient care through better data accessibility. In e-commerce, APIs integrate various backend systems to provide a seamless shopping experience, while in manufacturing, they enable smarter production processes and real-time monitoring.

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