10+ Unsettling Software Piracy Statistics to Know in 2024

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Software Piracy Statistics

Although piracy isn’t ethically justifiable, software piracy statistics show it to be on the rise each year due to a philosophical unwillingness to pay for digital products.

And users constantly look for efficient approaches to getting their favorite programs for free.

The following post provides recent stats and facts to help you understand software piracy and how widespread it is.

Unsettling software piracy statistics

The internet provides everything required to pirate digital content, which has led to some intimidating facts in the US:

  • Visits to software piracy website increased by 9.6% in 2022.
  • It takes 243 days to detect an unlicensed software package.
  • Globally, 40% of software in use is unpaid for.
  • 70% of people find nothing wrong with online piracy.
  • 6.2% of all digital piracy traffic goes to stealing software.

Let’s dive into some software piracy facts with more details now.

General software piracy statistics

It’s interesting how something so damaging becomes normal to so many.

But we’ve only just begun; software piracy occurs more commonly than you’d think, bringing many businesses down to their knees.

Let’s shed more light on that:

1. Malware attacks due to unlicensed software cost businesses up to $10,000 per infected computer.

(Source: BSA)

What’s more, the total cost of such attacks for businesses stands at $359 billion per year.

2. 76% of employees wouldn’t report software piracy at their company.

(Source: Revenera)

While pirating is far from legal, surveys indicate that 76% of employees would turn a blind eye to this crime.

Accordingly, they’d ignore it to avoid risking their position, wouldn’t want to be a whistleblower, and most of them simply don’t care.

3. Globally, 40% of the software products in distribution are unpaid for.

(Source: Revenera)

Based on a survey by Revulytics, two in every five copies of software programs worldwide haven’t been paid for.

Accordingly, the more expensive and valuable the product, the more likely it is to get pirated.

4. Visits to software piracy websites increased by 9.6% in 2022.

(Source: MUSO)

Although concerning, this is relatively low, compared to other industries such as film and publishing, which saw an increase of 42.5% and 58.5%, respectively.

5. Currently, there’s $46.3 billion worth of unlicensed software running globally.

(Source: Go-Globe)

That’s a massive hit for any industry. And with software piracy rates rising each year, the number is projected to grow significantly.

6. Visits to software piracy websites are on the rise.

(Source: Statista)

The number of visits to software piracy at the beginning of 2020 sat at 2.46 billion. By the end of 2021, there was an increase of almost 800,000 visits to 3.2 billion.

7. Software piracy has risen by 10% from 2021 to 2022.

(Source: TorrentFreak)

Even though the number is big, it’s still modest compared to the piracy rise in other industries like film (almost 50%) and publishing (over 30%).

8. Most countries still have 50% or higher unlicensed software rates

(Source: BSA: The Software Alliance)

Not only is software piracy common across the globe, but it also severely impacts the copyright holder in terms of profit.

Regardless, the statistics indicate most countries still face a software piracy rate of 50% or higher.

Software piracy statistics by age

Statistics show that users tend to feel less concerned with pirated content as they grow older, with most pirates being older than 21.

Read more about software piracy statistics by age:

9. 71.5% of all pirated traffic comes from users older than 21.

(Source: ResearchGate)

According to a survey by ResearchGate, users turn to pirated content more often as they age.

As a result of not wanting to pay for software, 71.5% of all piracy traffic comes from users older than 21.

10. On average, users over 21 download 1.48 pirated programs weekly.

(Source: ResearchGate)

Regardless of the location, people older than 21 reported downloading/uploading 1.48 pirated programs weekly.

Although it may seem unreal, such stats indicate how significant the damage software companies encounter daily is.

11. 34.6% of users between 17-20 have downloaded pirated software.

(Source: ResearchGate)

Based on a study by ResearchGate, 34.6% of users between the ages of 17-20 reported having downloaded a pirated piece of software.

Such statistics point to the starting age when software piracy starts to root in teenagers’ lives.

Software piracy statistics by apps

Software piracy costs businesses worldwide considerable sums in lost revenues annually.

While developers do their best to prevent their products from getting pirated, people still manage to steal their favorite apps.

So, let’s see which ones get pirated the most:

12. Photoshop is the No.1 pirated app, with 49,970 monthly searches.

(Source: Uswitch)

Adobe created subscription plans to make its software more accessible. However, this didn’t stop illegal downloads.

With Photoshop being the most pirated software, Adobe announced it’ll launch a free-to-use web browser-based version of it to minimize losses.

13. Microsoft Office remains within the top 10 most pirated software.

(Source: Uswitch)

Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, are essential in every office environment.

However, users are more likely to turn to pirated versions of the app as it is much cheaper than opting for the original one.

14. Windows 10 and 11 are often pirated for a free license.

(Source: Uswitch)

Microsoft Windows is the world’s favorite computer operating system and therefore loses millions to digital piracy.

Although Windows 10 and 11 are free for the owners of the previous versions, users pirate them to receive a new licensed copy.

Software piracy rates by country

Software piracy occurs at different rates in various countries worldwide for several reasons, like the average consumer income.

Accordingly, the charts below summarize the countries with the highest piracy rates:

1China
2Russia
3United States
4India
5Germany
6Brazil
7Ukraine
8France
9Italy
10Mexico

Wrap up

Getting a pirated version of your favorite program is both free and easy.

However, choosing to do that causes hundreds of businesses to lose billions of dollars each year and thousands of people to lose their jobs.

Therefore, it’s crucial to study software piracy statistics to understand the impact of using pirated content before opting for it.

FAQ

Is software piracy increasing?

Yes. Statistics by MUSO indicate more and more users are visiting pirate websites compared to previous years.

Which country uses the most pirated software?

China. According to statistics from 2022, China remains at the top of the list, followed by Russia and the US.

How big is software piracy?

It’s pretty big! In fact, software piracy statistics show that software companies have lost a whopping $46.3 billion.

Sources:

  1. BSA: The Software Alliance
  2. Revenera
  3. MUSO
  4. Go-Globe
  5. Statista
  6. TorrentFreak
  7. ResearchGate
  8. Uswitch