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2023 Report: The State of Website Development

In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is essential for businesses and individuals alike. A website serves as the face of an organisation, allowing it to reach a wider audience and showcase its products and services. With the increasing importance of digital marketing, the demand for website creation services has also seen a surge.

Website creation companies offer a range of services, from building a website from scratch to optimising existing websites for better performance. This report will look into the demand for website creation services, aiming to provide insights into the growth potential of the website creation industry.

Demand For Website Creation Services


Number of website creation projects on Sortlist from 2019-2023


In 2022, demand for web design in 3/4 of months was above average, despite economic conditions

Q1 2022

Project Value peaked in Q1 of 2023, before tailing off throughout the year.

Over 14,000 website creation projects were posted on Sortlist from January 2019 to February 2023, And that makes it the third most popular service on (behind Advertising and Ditigal Strategy, and just ahead of Social Media).

The demand for website creation services rose sharply shortly after the pandemic broke out. Our 2022 SMB Digitalisation Survey indicated that 43.8 % of SMB owners across Europe considered that the pandemic did, in fact, accelerate digitalisation efforts.

However, by February 2023 we see a significant drop in demand, which in turn affects the budget for these projects. What's going on behind the numbers?

Website Creation's Shrinking Budget

Despite the large number of projects for website creation, the overall average budget for these projects has not only been decreasing in 2022, but also remained consistently below the overall average budget of all expertises combined.

According to our Business Without a Website study, only 10.6% of European SMBs were planning on launching a website in 2022, and 27% did not have a website in 2022 because they did not consider it to be a priority for their business.

But just as the pandemic accelerated the digitalisation process for many businesses, it also sped up the adoption of no-code tools.

A report by Gartner suggests that, by 2024, low-code/no-code tools will make up more than 65% of all app development, and in the world of agencies, 80% of developers say they choose low-code/no-code because it helps free up their time to focus on high-priority tasks.

What Countries Are Investing in Website Creation?


German businesses searched more for website creation services


Dutch SMBs accounted for the second largest number of website creation searches


Lowest proportion of website creation searches per number of businesses

To know the countries that are most investing in website creation projects, we had a look at the top searches per market of website creation services and compared them to the approximate number of businesses in each.

By this account, it becomes clear that both Germany and the Netherlands are the two markets where website creation services thrive, as both register the highest number of online searches compared to their number of businesses.

This happens despite the fact that the Netherlands is the second smallest market in terms of number of businesses, showing

The Netherlands has one of the highest levels of Digitalisation in Europe according to the EU's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), and ranks third out of 27 EU Member States in the 2022 edition.

That means any digital touchpoints reach a wider segment of society - providing a strong ROI to a buoyant industry for website design.

How Much Does Website Creation Cost?


Average midpoint between projects posted on Sortlist and real price


Real price of website creation services tend to be almost twice what an SMB initially budgets

€6 - €10K

The median cost of web design works on

Historically, creating a professional website is an expensive endeavour. Data at Sortlist often assign low budgets to website creation projects, often underestimating their actual costs when agencies have to design and implement them.

On average a client might underestimate a budget by up to 50%.

Looking at the median prices of the works uploaded to Sortlist, however, shows a slightly diferent picture.

The possibility of working with no-code tools, wireframes and more indeed tends to mean that a price range of €6,000 to €10,000 is a possibility for many projects - simply not the more custom ones with complex integrations.

A Tale of Two Websites: More Than Meets the Eye

The sharp spike we see at the end of 2022 in the previous graph corresponds to two particular projects that skyrocketed the budget for the website creation expertise, and they both share a common trait: they often encompass more than just a website.

Looking closely at each campaign, it quickly becomes evident that website creation tends to be only one part of a greater digital strategy for businesses, big and small.

With a budget of 100,000 euros, one of the culprits behind the 2022 spike, French agency Influactive took the reins of a 360 campaign for the Order of Chartered Accountants in France, whose aim was to raise the profile of the profession in public accounting firms.

Similarly, another agency from France, Htag Consulting, had a budget of 200,000 euros to work on digital strategy consulting for French zoo Park Zoo Reynou, also skewing the budget trend at the end of 2022.

That project involved not just a redesign of the zoo's website, but also its transition to e-commerce, implementation of a CRM, local and national SEO and SEA, and community management.

All of which goes to show that, as a rule of thumb, no website exists in a vacuum.

What Kind of Agency Specialises in Website Creation?


78% of website creation agencies also work on digital strategy


Country with the smallest website creation agency size on Sortlist


Average website creation agency size in MENA countries

Just like with social media agencies, Spanish website creation agencies are, on average, less than 10 employees in size. Only North American and MENA website creation agencies have teams that exceed 30 employees.

Still, since a website tends to be part of a wider online strategy, it's normal to see these agencies working in other areas that overlap. And the data speaks for itself: 78% of website creation agencies also work on digital strategy.

Industries That Are Investing in Website Creation


One of the industries investing the most in website creation services


What both the travel and real estate industries are investing in web creation


Over 1,900 website creation projects came from the e-commerce industry

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