Since its launch in 2003, WordPress has become the most popular content management system (CMS) on the web. It’s running millions of websites: over 20% of every websites on the entire Internet, and almost half of all websites that use a CMS.

With all that success, you’d think that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, would be raking in the dough. But founder Matt Mullenweg is no billionaire. In fact, one big reason for WordPress’ ubiquity is that it’s free to use.

But even though WordPress itself is free, the economy that’s arisen around WordPress has grown just as fast as the software’s popularity, bringing in millions of dollars every year.

WordPress theme design, plugin development, consulting, hosting, site maintenance, and blogging are just a few of the services that have developed around WordPress. The WordPress economy is even booming offline, with over a thousand book published on the topic. Thousands of people around the world earn a living with work exclusively related to WordPress.

In this booming WordPress economy, it may seem that there’s no room for more people to cash in. Today, for instance, the WordPress theme shop market is competitive and hard to break into, unlike a few years ago when you could expect to see success immediately.

Still, the industry is expected to continue its growth, and with it the demand for services. The latest version of WordPress, 3.9, has already been downloaded over 40 million times since its release in April 2014, and thousands of new WordPress websites are being launched every day.

In such a booming economy, there’s also a growing demand for services. Though generalists will find it hard to stand out and differentiate themselves from competitors, choosing a niche to specialize in is a good way to stand out and offer unique value.

Check out the stats below to see how the economy surrounding WordPress has been growing the past few years, and who has been the most successful in this booming market.

Just How Big is the WordPress Economy

Just How Big is the WordPress Economy?

More than 74,103,000 websites on the Internet today are powered by WordPress.That makes for a lot of hungry customers looking for themes, plugins, hosting, experts, and consultants. The WordPress economy is much larger than one may realize.

WordPress vs. the Internet

WordPress is used by 59.6% of websites running a CMS.

WordPress usage accounts for 20.8% of all websites on the Internet.

By that estimate, roughly 363,820,000 websites are on the Internet today.

WordPress Themes

The official theme library has 2,189 free themes, and the number continues to grow.

ThemeForest.net: 3,724 themes

Top Selling Themes Week of 12/30/13:

Top Selling Designers in December 2013:

The Plugin Library

The official plugin library offers 28,164 free plugins to extend the core functionality.

CodeCanyon.net is a popular premium plugin repository with 2,060 WordPress plugins.

Top Selling Plugins Week of 12/30/13:

Top Selling Developers in December 2013:

WordPress Hosting

WordPress has spawned the creation of hosting companies dedicated to providing services for WordPress sites, known as “managed hosting.”

Publishing: Books about WordPress

Amazon shows 1,377 results for books about WordPress.

WordPress for Dummies was released in 2007.

Countless other eBooks about WordPress exist

State of the WordPress Economy

According to a global survey of more than 18,000 individuals conducted by WordPress in 2012:

A quick search of LinkedIn reveals:

Sources