The Rise of Multiple CMSs: International Study Shows WordPress Dominates the Enterprise

WordPress posts biggest jump in overall usage of any CMS, most popular CMS for Headless applications

New international research conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), shows WordPress is a top content management system (CMS) among enterprise businesses using two or more CMSs, and it is the dominant CMS for headless technology applications. The report, titled “The Rise of Multi CMS, WordPress and Headless in the Enterprise,” found that CMSs are no longer optional for enterprise companies and headless applications, a system used to control the content that is separated from the display layer or the front-end user experience, are on the rise.

“When we first conducted this survey in 2017, the respondents identified clear benefits to using multiple CMSs and the value it brings to their enterprise organization”


The survey of 300 enterprise-level IT and marketing decision-makers in the U.S. and U.K. is a follow up to a similar survey conducted in 2017. It showed a marked increase in the use of WordPress among enterprise companies. In fact, WordPress posted the highest increase in usage of any CMS surveyed which included: Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, Joomla, Drupal, and Umbraco. It also showed an overall increase in the use of more than one CMS.

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The ROI of WordPress

One of the most interesting findings coming out of the survey was the clear return on investment advantage of WordPress. 31% of respondents viewed ROI as a major benefit of using WordPress. No other CMS scored higher than 27% and the average for all other CMSs was only 20%. Further, for those surveyed who are already using WordPress, 38% saw ROI as a major benefit making the case that once an enterprise is using WordPress its ROI is even more pronounced.

“For today’s enterprise organizations, using a CMS is no longer an option, it’s a mandate,” said Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine. “The research results clearly show that not only are most, if not all, enterprises using a CMS, they are most likely using more than one. WordPress is one of the top two leading platforms for both primary and secondary uses, with clear benefits in terms of ease of use, ROI, agility and a faster time to market. It’s also one of the leading CMSs for headless applications, which continue to grow in this all-important market.”

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Headless Is Here

More than half (53%) of the respondents said they already use headless technology with their CMS and 80% of those who do not currently use a headless approach said they would be evaluating the use of headless technology within the next 12 months. Effectively, this means 90% of all enterprises surveyed will have adopted a headless approach by the end of 2020. WordPress was the top overall CMS choice in the survey for headless deployments.

For enterprises already using headless technology, security was the primary reason to do so. The decoupled nature of headless (i.e. the front-end and back-end being entirely separate) means that, for example, if an organization were to encounter an attack on its front-end, the attacker would not get access to the back-end data. Embracing headless will give organizations this valuable, security-based benefit. Other reasons for adopting a headless approach included analytics, monitoring and reporting, CRM and ecommerce.

What remains to be seen with headless technology is which front-end framework will be used to accompany the CMS on the back end. Respondents were almost equally split between using React, Angular and Vue software for the front end.

Combining the primary CMS and secondary CMS data reveals that, of those organizations already using a headless approach, 65% have WordPress as either their primary or secondary CMS – higher than any other CMS. Clearly there is a strong correlation between headless adoption and use of WordPress in organizations.

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