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08.11.2019 Luana Valentini

How is TYPO3 performing in your agency?

A survey about website project scopes & potential revenue losses

In the beginning of October 2019, we initiated an anonymous survey about the role of TYPO3 in the work spectrum of TYPO3 Association Members. The survey link was sent to more than 950 contacts and we are pleased that 109 community members completed the survey. With this blog post, we want to inform you about the results that came back and the conclusions we drew from them.

A better understanding of our industry

We want to thank everybody who took part in the survey! Companies of all sizes, be it freelancers, small or big agencies, were addressed. The results were first disclosed at this year’s T3CON in The Hague, where Daniel Fau (CEO of DFAU GmbH) presented use cases and learnings about the TYPO3 website builder toujou and a strategy to increase the use of TYPO3 in small and medium sized website projects.

The goal of the survey was to find out how potential revenue, customer care, and capacities correlate with different project sizes and budgets. In total, the survey included eight questions and they will be shown and interpreted one by one with their respective answers in the images below.

Disclaimer: All interpretations and conclusions were made to the best of our knowledge. The results are under no circumstances to be considered representative of the entire TYPO3 Association, but of the 109 participants.

Skip survey and show me the conclusions

Question 1

First of all, we wanted to group agencies into their respective company sizes. Each of the four groups we proposed – freelancers/solopreneurs, 1 to 5 employees, 6 to 19 employees, more than 20 employees – is well represented, although »big« agencies take up almost one third of the cake (30.3 %).

Question 2 (by groups)

Of all participants, 72.5 % concentrate on or at least generate the most revenue with development. It is interesting to see that out of these TYPO3 Association Members more than one quarter does not generate the most revenue with their development, but instead 22 % with design/integration and 5.5 % with consulting.

Take a look at the answers by company size:

  Development (%) Design/Integration (%) Consulting (%)
Freelancer 80.8 19.2 -
1-5 60 35 5
6-19 66.7 26.7 6.7
>20 78.8 12.1 9.1

The numbers reveal that development plays by far the biggest role within each company. The most interesting notion seems to be that the percentage of consulting increases with the company’s size and freelancers do not rely on consulting at all.

Question 3 (by groups)

Of all participants that disclosed their revenue, the middle sector of € 250 to 750k takes up the smallest percentage. Instead, smaller revenues of up to € 250k take the lead (34.9 %) and more than € 750k place second in this chart (29.4 %). 

Take a look at the answers by company size (excluding »Don’t know«): 

  Up to 250k (%) 250-750k (%) >750k (%)
Freelancer 88.5 - -
1-5 65 25 -
6-19 3.3 50 16.7
>20 3 3 69.7

The results do not show any surprises: Revenues do in fact correlate with the company sizes we proposed.

Question 4 (by groups)

We want to point out one detail: The majority that responded »up to 30 %« might also include the case that they use TYPO3 exclusively, thus 0 %.

That said, 22 % of respondents generate more absolute revenue with non-TYPO3 related projects. This is an unexpected outcome within a TYPO3 related survey. A future survey might include a question about which other CMS companies rely on. Questions that help us find out the proportion of e-commerce solutions, small CMS, Wordpress, and others, even website builders, with which projects are executed.

Take a look at the answers by company size:

  Up to 30 % (%) 31 to 60 % (%) >60 % (%)
Freelancer 76.9 3.8 19.2
1-5 50 35 15
6-19 66.7 3.3 30
>20 54.5 24.2 21.2

Freelancers take the lead with the least non-TYPO3 related revenue (23 % combined); small companies of 1 to 5 employees rely on other CMS the most in comparison (50 %). 

Question 5 (by groups)

7 persons opted for »other« out of which 5 (= approx. 4.6 % total) responded »Yes« in different variations (see below). Combined with the other two Yes-options (Yes, for lack of dev manpower and Yes, for lack of time), the ratio adds up to 70.7 % (!) of participants that have rejected potential projects in the past year. What we do not know: What kind of projects were they? Especially considering the results that came back from question 4, we are not necessarily talking about TYPO3 projects.

Take a look at the answers by company size: 

  Yes, lack of time (%) Design/Integration (%) No, capacity outsourcing (%) No, any project (%)
Freelancer 73.1 - 7.7 19.2
1-5 50 10 20 10
6-19 26.7 30 16.7 13.3
>20 42.2 30.3 18.2 6.1

Freelancers have by far rejected the most projects for lack of time (73.1 %), whereas medium-sized businesses (6-19) have the least time-related issues (26.7 %). A lack of manpower seems to correlate with the company’s size. In any case, more than half of each group has rejected projects in the past year. 

7x »Other« as given:
not enough references; fine as it is; Yes, for the focus or expectations of the clients; low budget; Yes, for incompatibility with our values and systems; projects either not fitting (too small for TYPO3) + developers booked on larger projects; yes, smaller projects and projects with incomplete requirements are rejected
Question 6 (by groups)

Of all participants that disclosed their medium project offer value, a large number opted for more than € 15k (39.8 %) and almost one third between € 5k and 15k. Smaller projects are handled by 19.4 % of respondents.

Take a look at the answers by company size:

  Up to 5k (%) 5 to 15k (%) >15k (%)
Freelancer 53.8 23.1 11.5
1-5 25 55 15
6-19 12.2 34.1 46.3
>20 3.3 43.3 46.7

Offer values of TYPO3 projects do almost all correlate with the company sizes we proposed. Except for offers from € 5k to 15k within companies of up to 5 employees (55 %).

Question 7 (by groups)

Fortunately, the vast majority of legacy clients seem to be running websites on supported TYPO3 versions, with 16.5 % of participants responding that they have no clients at all outside the ELTS system. Participants are mostly able to keep clients up to date – with room to improve, of course. Still, these numbers can be considered as a positive sign from TYPO3 members to the community.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said for TYPO3 websites in general, of which 38.7 % run on unsupported versions (source).

Take a look at the answers by company size:

  Up to 30 % (%) 31 to 60 % (%) >60 % (%) None (%)
Freelancer 46.2 38.5 3.8 7.7
1-5 50 30 - 10
6-19 46.3 24.4 7.3 17.1
>20 40 30 - 26.7

There are no significant correlations between company sizes and their number of legacy clients that do not own websites on supported TYPO3 versions.

Question 8 (by groups)

Now, this is interesting feedback: 28.7 % of participants do not think that a TYPO3 version update of the websites of legacy clients is helpful to the client’s business. We can only imagine that these are clients with business strategies that do not depend on websites. Otherwise, this is an alarming number. We would love to know more, if you are of the same persuasion or if you participated in the survey and clicked this answer!

There are no significant correlations between company sizes and the answers given in this case.

TL;DR: Conclusions

Supported vs. unsupported TYPO3 versions. Source:

▷ There are too many outdated TYPO3 websites

Taking into account that our survey revealed that Association Members are mostly able to keep client's TYPO3 websites up to date, 38.7 % of TYPO3 websites in general outside of the ELTS cycle is too many. 20 years of experience have shown us that there is always more than one reason for this: 

  • Clients do not see the cost-benefit relation of version updates
  • Website relaunches are often done with »simpler« systems & faster execution
  • TYPO3 has become too expensive to maintain professionally
  • Former webmasters are out of reach, websites become more and more neglected
  • Past decisions about architecture and integration prevent updates

▷ TYPO3 quality is inaccessible to most users

According to our survey, 70.4 % of TYPO3 projects cost more than 5.000 Euro (question 6). Considering that in 2016, German SMEs spent only 3.355 Euro on a website (according to this survey), one could draw the conclusion that TYPO3 as a CMS is out of range of what SMEs are willing to spend on a website.

Adding to this is the fact that market share of TYPO3 has always been considerably lower than Wordpress and other strong CMS worldwide. Germany is still the strongest market for TYPO3 with close to 10 % of market share (source).

▷ TYPO3 should be available to more people & businesses

46.8 % of rejected projects for lack of time might suggest that agencies can work up to their capacities (question 5). Coming back to 70.7 % of all participants that have rejected project requests in the past year, we are looking at an alarming number of »lost« projects. Also considering that there is no way to investigate whether these projects were kept within the TYPO3 community (independently of their nature or the requested CMS).

Which brings us right to the heart of why we conducted a survey in the first place:

We believe that TYPO3 agencies need to open up their project scopes in order to gain and maintain market share in the future.

Why do we believe this?

toujou was built to create new business and open up TYPO3 solutions for clients on a budget as well as to save resources. With our website builder we were able to jumpstart more than 300 website projects (pitches & demos included) in less than two years. Therefore, we leveled the number of rejected projects to almost 0.

We do not look at toujou as just another website builder. For our community, toujou can be an enabler, a tool to pitch projects faster and conceptualize with your team while content is being built at the same time by your client. It can be the means to save time, money, and manpower as an agency, as our partner.

Talk to us if you want to learn more about our community special!