CMS Market Share

November 2019 Analysis

Every 6 months I analyze the CMS market share numbers provided by W3Techs in depth. I look at the top 10 CMSes, which content management systems have grown, which have shrunk. I always pay special attention to eCommerce platforms as well.

I do these analyses biannually. The latest one can always be found here: CMS market share analysis.

I wrote an analysis in the beginning of this year of the CMS market share numbers from W3Techs. Over the year I’ve been analyzing them a bit more and I thought I’d share my insights with all of you. So, read on to see when Shopify is going to replace Joomla as the second biggest “CMS”, when Wix is entering the top 5 and why all of their growth pales in comparison to WordPress’ growth.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Raw CMS market share numbers

First, let’s look at the raw, most important numbers as of November 2019, from this table that W3Techs maintains:

  • WordPress is the #1 CMS with a 35.0% market share, 2.8% higher than November 2018.
  • Joomla is the #2, has 2.7% market share and is down 0.3% year on year, that’s a 10% decline.
  • Drupal is also losing, going from 1.9% to 1.7% over the course of the last 6 months.
  • The “winners” are Shopify (1.8%, up 0.5%), Squarespace (1.6%, up 0.2%) and Wix (1.3%, up 0.3%).

Notes about these numbers

Notes about these numbers: the W3Techs research I’m analyzing in this post is based on the top 10 million sites on the web as provided by Alexa. While some platforms like Tumblr and are huge, they won’t show up as high in these rankings because the individual subdomains are not considered separate websites by W3Techs.

Most of this visible (in its relativity) in this chart:

A screenshot of the CMS market share over time
Data from W3Techs, forecast by Joost de Valk & Jono Alderson

But this is only interesting if you look at the trends. I’ve made this Google sheet with the help of my colleague Jono Alderson, which takes the data from W3 Techs and adds more info. So let’s dive a bit deeper.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Shopify is clearly on the rise, and doing well. What’s not so clear is that WordPress, in large part, is also doing eCommerce. W3Techs actually has a report on WooCommerce, but they classify it, rightly, as a sub-category of WordPress.

If you look at the W3Techs WooCommerce report though, you’ll see that an astonishing 5.5% of the websites in this research are powered by Woo. That would put WooCommerce firmly in the second spot of CMS market shares if it was classified as a separate CMS and ahead of its main contender Shopify by 3.7%.

This graph makes WooCommerce’s size & growth even more clear:

If these trends continue in the same linear direction, this time next year, Shopify will be the #2 CMS in the world. Joomla will drop to the #3 position. Squarespace will be the new number #4 and Wix #5, at the expense of Drupal, which will drop from #3 to #6 over the course of the year. Combined this leads to the conclusion that outside of WordPress, all major open source CMSs are losing.

What we have to realize here is that 0.1% share of the CMS market maybe tiny for WordPress, but for SaaS providers like Shopify, they represent huge growth in customers and revenue. Shopify builds (the name does give it away) shops. Each and every one of these customers makes them money. Money they can reinvest into faster growth. I did some more research into the money these CMSs make in my previous analysis of these numbers earlier this year.

Are so many sites changing their CMS?

What’s important to note is that some of the changes in popular CMSs maybe due to the ever changing growth of the web, as is reflected by the Alexa top 10 million most visited sites. For instance, a CMS like TYPO3 is relatively large in countries like the Netherlands and Germany, where the web has been big for many years. If the relative size of these countries on the web shrinks due to the fact that the overall web is growing faster than the internet usage in these countries, sites will drop out of the top 10 million, and those CMSs might thus look like they’re declining. They might actually be stable or might even still be growing, just not as fast as the entire web.

Is open source declining?

I’ve gone through the list of CMSs and looked up whether they’re open source or not. On the whole, in the beginning of 2018, open source CMSs combined had a 41.6% market share. Now they command 43.4% and if the trends continue the way they’re looking, it’ll be 45.7% this time next year.

Now, those open source totals obscure an important fact:

  • without WordPress, open source CMSs would have lost a full percentage point over the course of this year, from 9.4% to 8.4%.
  • if the trends continue, the group of open source CMSs – excluding WordPress – will decrease next year as well, to 7.6%.
CMS market share over time, by open/closed source
Data from W3Techs, forecast by Joost de Valk & Jono Alderson

Outside of WordPress, all major open source CMSs are declining.

So, while WordPress is shining and growing, the open source CMS ecosystem outside of WordPress isn’t getting stronger. We’ve seen the first moves for Gutenberg to be adopted by Drupal, maybe it’s time for more collaboration to prevent further decline?

New contenders?

The top 10 is a list of names we’ve seen for a while now, relatively speaking. It’ll be very interesting to see whether any other new systems pop up over the next year. Big online players like MailChimp and Salesforce have launched new CMSs, they might use their reach in other areas to grab a bit of this market share.

It will be very interesting to analyze this trend over the coming years, and I plan to keep doing so on a regular basis. If you have feedback on specific things to analyze, questions, or other remarks, please leave them in the comments!

A headshot of Joost de Valk, author.

Joost de Valk

Joost is an internet entrepreneur from Wijchen, the Netherlands. He is the founder of Yoast. Joost is married to Marieke, who is also Yoast’s former CEO. Marieke and Joost have 4 kids together and run Emilia Capital together, an investment firm.

8 thoughts on “November 2019 analysis”

  1. Thanks for sharing!

    Is it possible that this data doesn’t account for decoupled and/or use of CMSes with static site generators? At least within Drupal and WordPress I see (without any quantitative evidence) a lot more use of REST and GraphQL usage.

    I wish there was also an easy way to see refined data for medium to large organisations vs small businesses as platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix of course have their limitations.

  2. Sebastian, just to clarify, these metrics that Joost is sharing is based on the top 1MM website as a percentage using WordPress. So 35% of the overall web is powered by WordPress. WordPress compared to only the other CMS’s has over 60% marketshare. I like to think of it like this:
    1. 35% of the entire web runs on WordPress.
    2. 60% of the time it is the preferred CMS chosen.

    Here is another article to clarify a bit (I have no relation with this company)

  3. I am sad to see that Joomla! is still losing customers. Per some of my researches, it’s still very popular in Russia and some other countries.

  4. Interesting data. In 2020, the e-commerce market has grown a lot. WooCommerce has grown in popularity, as has the entire e-commerce market. Any predictions for 2021? Still dynamic development?

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