Content Management Software: Market Size and Main Competitors

Monday, May 11, 2020
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Content management software (CMS) enables non-specialized users to create and maintain a website without having to code. If your company, services, or product doesn’t have a website of its own, you’re likely losing business. Shopping trends have indicated that as many as 87% of consumers research products online before making a purchase. I know I do.

And where do clients get their online information from? Websites. Websites provide much needed visibility and authority to brands – whether they’re digitally native, operate from brick-and-mortar locations, or both. Web pages are also a great way to stay in touch with your consumers, although social media is another major factor to consider here.

We can now speak of a rapidly growing CMS market, which is expected to reach over $120 billion by 2026, up from $35 billion in 2018, according to Zion Market Research. Even though many custom-made CMSs are quite useful, they do have limitations. Let’s take a closer look at the current CMS market, as well as the most popular choices.

What Is CMS Software?

A CMS is an application that makes it easy for you to publish and/or manage web content without having to know programming. Initially, this is what CMSs were all about. Now, the most popular solutions can help you achieve much more than a new post every once in a while. You can format your page using visual editors, allow your visitors to post comments or contact you, add ecommerce functionality and more.

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Many people tend to think of content management systems as website builders. This is not entirely accurate. A website builder is a simple tool that lets you edit your website with the help of a drag-and-drop interface. A CMS like WordPress or Wix does the same thing, but adds a lot of functionality on top of that. You can think of them as one-stop-shops for all your website needs.

Some of the most popular CMSs are free to use. However, if you want to implement custom designs, enhanced security, or advanced functionalities, you will either need to purchase extensions or transfer your website into a web development framework.

CMS by Market Share

It is estimated that nearly 35% of all published websites run on WordPress. In the CMS niche, it holds a dominating position of over 60% of the market share. According to ZionResearch, WP does have competitors, though. Here’s an overview of the market right now:


WordPress is, by far, the most popular CMS out there. Written in PHP and reliant on MariaDB or MySQL for database functionality, WordPress is an open-source framework that’s perfect for rapid deployment. Some of the biggest brands use it for their websites, including Bloomberg, TechCrunch, Vogue, Reuters, and more.

Although the WordPress foundation continues to develop and update their platform, the true gem behind this CMS is the international community of developers. You can find tens of thousands of custom themes and plugins to go with it, many of them free of charge.

Initially, you could only use WordPress for blogging. Now, thanks to plugins, you can use it to create a forum, online store, or private membership sites. Despite being highly customizable, WordPress may sometimes make it difficult for you to achieve a specific goal, so you might have to combine several plugins at once to get a desired outcome.

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With roughly 5% of the CMS market share, Joomla appears as a distant second to WordPress in many tops. Even though Joomla is also open-source, the difference in popularity is likely due to the fact that it’s less beginner-friendly. On the flip side, Joomla is great if you need a lot of custom posts that are not necessarily text-based.

This CMS comes equipped with everything you need to run a membership site, including multilingual support. What’s more, Joomla can easily work with multiple templates or themes at once. For instance, if you want to create a page that relies heavily on image galleries, this software will make your life easier than WordPress.

Unfortunately, the modest market share presents other drawbacks. For example, if you find yourself in need of additional functionalities, these might have to be implemented manually, as there aren’t that many extensions or templates currently available for it.

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At roughly 3% of the CMS market, Drupal isn’t threatening to reach for the pole position any time soon. Still, this open-source application can be quite useful if you handle a membership website where people have the ability to create custom posts. However, you will need some developer knowledge to work with Drupal effectively

The area where Drupal really shines is taxonomy – the ability to classify, connect, and relate everything that’s published on your website. Take, for example, a business whose website has several different areas that need to work differently. Some areas (like the press release section) must look differently and be edited only by specific users, and Drupal can help you set this up.

If you know you’re going to build a massive website that needs to handle a lot of data in many different ways, this CMS is worth considering.

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Unlike the previous CMSs, Shopify is a paid option that comes with website hosting. Shopify is aimed at the ecommerce niche, where it is an industry-leader. Technically speaking, we’re now dealing with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

There’s a hefty monthly fee to pay and, in return, you benefit from security, SSL certificates, hosting, and any other functionality that might be required for an online store, such as secure payment, inventory management, discounts, wish lists, and more.

Shopify may not have a large portion of the CMS market share, but they’re growing rapidly. With a good support system in place, the only downside is the fact that it costs. If you don’t mind paying for it, though, it will help you turn your first ecommerce steps into veritable strides.

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As is the case with Shopify, we’re dealing with paid SaaS that also offers web hosting. Even though usage statistics vary to a great extent, the consensus seems to be that Wix is the fastest growing product in this market. Zion Research indicates they’re expanding by 149% year-on-year, which is no small feat in today’s competitive web development niche.

Wix is aimed at small businesses or solo entrepreneurs, such as personal trainers, consultants, and private practices. With a series of user-friendly features, as well as blogging and ecommerce capabilities, this CMS is an attractive option for people who want to create and launch their first website with the help of a drag-and-drop editor in a matter of days.

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Which CMS to Choose?

I’ve listed 5 of the most noteworthy competitors in the content management software market, but these aren’t the only names worth looking at. If you’re new to web development and you want to launch a website, CMS applications are a great place to start.

A good CMS will make it easier for you to create and publish content, but they are not all made the same. My advice is to is consider your needs, your technical ability, as well as the design you have in mind for your website. Then, you can choose the solution that will work best for you. In most cases, though, WordPress will give you everything you need to create beautiful websites.