CMS: Top Players, Trends, and Market Share Growth
By Lynette Sawyer
November 7, 2018
CMS, Content Management System, Drupal, Headless, Headless CMS, Joomla, open source, WCM, Web Content Management, WordPress
There may be no more important tool – but is most often overlooked - for web users, designers and developers or business owners in their day-to-day work than the Web Content Management (WCM) system. Twenty years ago, if you asked the average person what a CMS is, they likely would have thought of some other acronym like “Car Management System” and not a content management system.
More recently over the last couple years with the significant rise and use of digital and social media, content being king, and the introduction of players - like Wix and Squarespace – those play commercials you can't ignore advertising how easy it is to create a website – more and more users today are more technically inclined and understand what a web CMS is. Just as much growth and knowledge as the average person have gained about CMS system is, is the growth of the CMS market share.
Overview of the CMS Market
Today, based on multiple sources of research, surveys, and analytics, it is estimated that there are almost two billion websites online. To be more accurate, the Web Server Survey of October 2018 by NetCraft reports the latest number of sites is 1,673,535,333. Think about this number – not only is that a significant number of websites and CMS platforms, but there is more or less one website for every four people in the world.
This creates much space for the web’s top CMS platforms to shine and reportedly about half of the websites of the world run on some form of a CMS.
However, does this mean that one in every four people can design and develop a website? Likely not, but it reinforces how the CMS market has broadened and increased adoption from its ease of use and capability for the average to more technically inclined user to build their website with. That is why various favorite CMS tools now dominate all lists of top website platforms.
Currently, there are between 250 and 350 different web CMS programs presently available on the market. There are three core application types: Web content management systems, blog publishing, and news, and social publishing and communities. These range from simple building tools to very comprehensive enterprise systems, free to costly and either proprietary software or open source.
Numerous content management solutions by major CMS communities have chosen to be open source with the code being freely accessible and providing users and developers more freedom to make changes, improve upon the system, and add more extensions, all to adapt the CMS to their specific requirements. Other, more extensive enterprise communities have chosen the proprietary route, with an annual or monthly subscription model, and the option to expand the complex software with out of the box extensions or platforms.
Top CMS Platforms & Marketshare
It should come as no surprise, but the most popular web CMS solution on the market today is WordPress. Other open source projects in the top ten most popular software solutions for website operation are Joomla!, Drupal, and TYPO3.
According to BuiltWith, nearly 18 million websites worldwide use this open source CMS. WordPress controls almost 60% of the CMS market, and with the introduction of its ever-popular woo-commerce, it now controls 10% of e-commerce market share. Originally conceived as a blogging platform, WordPress has become the leading platform thanks to the development of its extensions that make it customizable to a fully functional content management system.
Number of sites in top one million: 239,139
Used by: BBC America, Time, TechCrunch
- 18,000 extensions and over 14,000 free design templates
- “Five-minute installation” via Wizard
- Search engine friendly URLs
- Publishing and management tools for mobile solutions
Joomla! is the second biggest platform in the CMS market with nearly 2.5 million installations worldwide. Unlike its market leader, Wordpress, Joomla! is a more comprehensive CMS with built-in functionalities that don’t need extensions. However, this platform is better geared towards IT or developers with knowledge of building a website.
Market share: 6.6%
- Number of sites in top one million: 13,480
- Used by: Holiday Inn Express, OpenVPN, High Charts
- Currently around 7400 available extensions
- Object-based content management
- Community support through forums
Conceived initially as a student community solution, Drupal is an open source CMS that combines easy installation with the extensiveness of a more enterprise level platform. Drupal has one of the most reliable online communities for support and guidance in using the CMS.
- Market share: 4.6%
- The number of active sites tracked: 964,820
- Number of sites in top one million: 23,330
- Most popular sites: Linux, Harvard University, GE Transportation
- Very flexible, modular layout.
- Slim basic installation with more than 36,000 extension modules
- Focus on social publishing and community projects
- More than 1100 distributions as a complete solution for typical applications
Trends & Growth for CMS Market Share
Over the past couple months – and as we covered before - multiple reports from sources like MarketWatch, PS Market Research and Zion, have been released profiling the webs CMS Market Size Growth and forecasted to 2024. According to these reports, the global web content management market accounted for 4.9 billion (USD) in 2017 and is expected to reach 14.2 billion (USD) globally by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 16% between 2018 and 2024.
Over the last two to three years, and particularly in 2017, outside trends have significantly shaped the web CMS landscape. Customers have desired for more simplicity but more robust integrations, and this has fundamentally changed how platform developers have been changing or updating their products and services. Other subtle trends include:
- Technology buyers, in general, have become more sophisticated
- IT departments are driving the selection in technology for both WCM and digital experience (DX)
- WCM technology built for developers but propel marketing innovation
- Replacement of more complex WCM platforms with simpler alternatives
These trends have signaled the shift towards the need for flexibility and versatility in web content management platforms, thus the drive toward “headless” CMS solutions. Looking forward to the next couple of years, the ”headless” CMS solution won’t be disappearing anytime soon. The trend will be getting ahead of the digital game and adding innovations to the platforms. This could include:
- Additional marketing automation and innovations
- Integrations and development of and amplifying A.I and bots
- Data-driven personalization, delivering the right experience to the ever-growing number of channels and touchpoints: from physical spaces to virtual experiences
- Emergence and demand of voice content management
In respect to market share, Wordpress is targeted to stay healthy at the helm and reach 60% market share in the coming year. It is projected Joomla! and Drupal will continue to be still at the top of CMS platforms but will see some decline in its percentage of market share.
As far as other CMS platform, the growth rates of the market signal that smaller, more precise systems will be impacting overall market share. For example, PrestaShop was the essential CMS to have a steady increase in market share, going from 0.9% to 1.3% today.
CMS systems have been revolutionary to web development. They have empowered freelancers, mompreneurs, businesses, and startups by providing a more natural way to build a website and expand their reach. There is an extensive list of popular CMS platforms that are quite universal and can run pretty much any site – WordPress being the leader. The widespread usage can be mostly attributed to the fact that more are moving towards or already open-source.
Reports and research aside, you can also discover what the top website platforms are – the ones on their rise to greatness by looking into the trends. You can see how popular some of the platforms featured above have been getting over the years and those who are not. The traditionally more popular CMS platforms such as Joomla! and Drupal have been on a steady decline for the past couple of years. Whereas players such as Squarespace and Shopify have been on the rise. Also, WordPress keeps its crown as reigning king.
Lynette Sawyer is a Web Project Manager for Falcon-Software, a digital web agency founded in 1994. For the last 13-years Lynette has been in various digital capacities and her expertise goes beyond Project Management. Lynette brings experience and knowledge in graphic design, marketing communications, project management, product management and engagement.