GetApp Lab

Most popular project management software: Do location and business size affect app choices? (GetApp report)

If small businesses excel at one thing, it’s outperforming in spite of lean budgets. When top-performing teams don’t have deep pockets, they still manage to exceed expectations. That’s partially due to the rise in free or low-cost project management software. But is cost really king when project teams select their tools of choice?

New research from GetApp implies that this is true. We were curious to see which apps are most popular among our users and we dove into our own data for answers.

To find the most popular project management software, we reviewed data for the “I use this” and “I want this” features of our website. When GetApp users sign into our website via their LinkedIn accounts, they can click the “I use this” and “I want this” buttons for specific apps. This tells us which apps readers use now and which ones they’re exploring for the future:

Then, we researched patterns based on business size and country. For brevity’s sake, we analyzed data from the four countries with the most GetApp users – Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US. We used this data to determine the most popular project management software in each of these countries.

We were also curious if the same project management apps would be most popular in small and midsize businesses (SMBs) of all sizes. So, we segmented our “I use this” data to find the most popular project management software across SMBs of six distinct sizes, from solopreneurs to teams of up to 1,000 employees.

Finally, we wondered if there’s a disconnect between the project management software that’s currently used and the apps that GetApp users would like to try. So, we analyzed data from GetApp users in the US – our market with the most data – to see which tools have received the most votes. You’ll find a more detailed methodology at the bottom of this article.

Key findings

Most used project management software by business size

Trello is tops for many project managers. It’s the most popular app among users ranging from solopreneurs up to 200 employees. Even among project managers on teams ranging from 201 to 1,000 employees, it’s neck-in-neck for second place.

But Basecamp’s own fan base is loyal as well. The app came in second place among users ranging from solopreneurs up to 200 employees

Money talks?

Why do small project teams prefer Trello? Cost (or lack thereof) is one clue. Trello provides a free plan with unlimited boards, lists, cards, and more. Users on this plan can also link files from their Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, or OneDrive accounts.

Project teams that have larger files and need Trello to integrate with tools like Slack and Salesforce can use Trello’s Business Class plan for $9.99 per month when billed annually. This makes the tool a strong choice for Agile project teams with equally lean budgets.

Basecamp doesn’t provide a free plan unless you work in education, but it does cost $99 per month for teams of all sizes. This means that Basecamp lacks the per-user fees that many software tools have.

The role of integrations

Integrations also play a crucial role in selecting project management software. For most software users, it’s important that any new tool they adopt integrates with the apps that they already use. It’s why “Integrations” is one of five key data points in GetApp’s quarterly Category Leaders ranking of the best cloud-based project management apps.

Trello’s list of integrations is one of its selling points. By contrast, Basecamp positions itself as an “anti-Trello” of sorts. Rather than paying for disparate tools – one for live chat, a second for task management, a third for file sharing, etc. – they say that you can use Basecamp for all of it.

Some project managers might balk at paying $99 per month. However, per-user costs can add up as teams grow in size. All of this makes Basecamp a strong sell for project teams that plan to grow over time and don’t need their project management software to integrate with a ton of tools.

Most used project management software by country

We were curious if the same project management apps would transcend continental boundaries. The answer is that they do. When we analyzed user data among project managers in teams from 0 – 1,000 employees in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, we found that the same apps tended to win the popularity contest.


No app held a candle to Trello among US project managers. Nearly one in three (31 percent) uses it. Basecamp was the second most popular project management software tool in the US; nearly one in five (19 percent) uses it.


Trello holds an even larger lead among Australian GetApp readers: 38 percent report that they use it. The next most popular project management software in Australia – JIRA Software – holds less than half that amount, with 16 percent of the total.

We should note that JIRA was built in Australia. Unlike with our most popular accounting apps – where Australian app Xero held a sixfold lead in Oz – project management software users here were not nearly as likely to favor local tools.

Basecamp held a slightly smaller share of the total at 14 percent. Specific tool usage saw a steep drop after that.


Trello triumphs in Canada as well: more than one in three project managers in this country prefers it. Basecamp showed a slight lead over JIRA Software with 18 percent of the total compared to JIRA’s 16 percent.

The UK

Trello’s lead was strongest among British GetApp readers: a full 40 percent use it in that country. As in Canada, Basecamp vied with JIRA Software for second place. But in this case, they flip-flopped. JIRA took the second spot with 19 percent, while Basecamp held strong at 16 percent.

Most wanted project management software

Since Trello had such a strong showing across GetApp’s four most popular markets, we wondered which tools readers want to use the most. Since GetApp’s “I want this” feature is so new at this stage, we didn’t have enough data from our Australian, British, and Canadian markets. Luckily, we did have a large enough sample size from US respondents.

You’ll see that Wrike was the most wanted project management software in the US with eight percent of the total votes. JIRA Software and Trello come in second and third place, respectively. And a new tool – Mavenlink – came in fourth place.

In GetApp’s Q3 Category Leaders ranking – the most updated list at press time – Wrike came in 6th place overall and just one place behind Trello. This signals that Wrike’s popularity is growing.


Trello provides a free plan that serves a diverse range of project teams in SMBs of all sizes. It also integrates with hundreds of other cloud-based apps, including 107 of the most popular apps on Finally, its built-in collaboration features save project teams from needing to pay for yet another tool.

We can draw these conclusions since GetApp’s other user demographics for Trello and Basecamp are more alike than different:


As these screenshots show, user trends for both apps are alike across industry, company size, and country. They appeal to roughly the same software shoppers across these three factors:

The key differences between these apps are Trello’s free pricing plan and the amount of integrations that it offers. Project teams in SMBs need software that will easily work with the apps they’re using now – without breaking the proverbial bank. If there’s a key takeaway for vendors, it’s the fact that apps can earn a lot by being free.


We analyzed data from GetApp users who were signed into our website via their LinkedIn accounts and had checked the “I use this” or “I want this” options for specific apps on our website. For the “I use this” data, we counted the amount of individual users that had selected each app.

Then, we segmented that data by business size and country. This helped us confirm which apps are most popular in businesses of different sizes and in specific countries.

The sample sizes for each segment varied depending on how many users we had from each business size and country. Within each sample, we found the top three to five most popular project management software tools.

We used absolute numbers in each of the graphs above. For “I want this” data, each user can select as many apps on our website as they’d like to use. In this case, the absolute numbers in our chart showing “Most wanted project management apps in the US” reflect the number of votes each app received in relation to the total number of votes.

How does Trello compare to Basecamp?

Which apps have the highest reviews?

Want to learn more about project management?

Categories: Independent SaaS and SMB industry research
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Lauren Maffeo :