Worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software revenue totaled $26.3 billion in 2015, up 12% from $23.4 billion in 2014, according to Gartner Inc.

"The merger and acquisition activity that began flowing through the market in 2009 continued in 2015, with more than 30 notable acquisitions,” said Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner.

Overall, the top five CRM software vendors accounted for more than 45% of the total market in 2015. The top five had little change in ranking compared with 2014, although Adobe jumped into the fifth position, displacing IBM, as it continues to lead the CRM marketing segment with a focus on marketing agencies and the CMO.

“CRM growth is driven by cloud service revenue, which, in the application space, uses SaaS [software as a service] as the major delivery model," Poulter said. "SaaS revenue grew 27% year over year, which is more than double overall CRM market growth in 2015.” On-premises new license revenue declined 1% for the same period, he said.

Salesforce continued to dominate the CRM market in 2015, with 20% of the market. It leads in revenue in the sales and customer service and support segments of CRM, and it is now third in revenue in the marketing segment, where it is the fastest-growing segment among the top five.

Spending in North America continued in double digits, and this market generated the bulk of revenue (56%) in the overall CRM market.

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