3 months by cncdivi

It’s time to present the results of our CNCCookbook 2017 CAD Survey.  This update adds the Customer Satisfaction Awards.

There were just under 500 responses to our question about production CAD packages.  Thank you all very much for participating!

We have CAD Survey data for 2013, 2015, 2016, and now 2017, so we’ll be able to see a little market trending here too.

CNCCookbook 2017 CAD Customer Satisfaction Awards

I’ll get on to market share shortly, but first, let’s go over Customer Satisfaction.

Each time we survey, we ask customers to rank their satisfaction of their production CAD package.  The rating system is simple with 3 choices:

  • It Rocks!
  • It’s Okay
  • Not Very Satisfied

We then calculate a score based on the percentage of each type of response that was received.  Based on those responses, we award a Gold and a Silver Customer Satisfaction Award to the first and second place packages.

Gold Customer Satisfaction Award: Rhino3D from Robert McNeel & Associates

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Congratulations to Robert McNeel and Associates!

A whopping 71% of respondents who use Rhino3D said, “It Rocks!”  I have to confess, Rhino3D is my personal favorite CAD package among the several I use regularly.

Silver Customer Satisfaction Award: NX from Siemens

Congratulations to Siemens for receiving the Silver Customer Satisfaction Award for NX.  It was very close to Rhino3D with 71% of respondents saying, “It Rocks!”

Overall Customer Satisfaction Rankings

Here are the overall Customer Satisfaction Ranking for 2017:

Comparing the rankings to 2016, here were the biggest moves:

  • Rhino3D moved up 13 positions to take the #1 slot.
  • BobCad moved down 8 positions versus 2016.
  • Autodesk Inventor was up 7 positions and took 3rd place behind Rhino3D and NX.  Solid showing for Autodesk!
  • Draftsight, Dassault Systems 2D product was down 7 places.  AutoCad itself, the King of 2D was also down 4 places.  It’s not clear to me that 2D packages are where it’s at.  We live in and are machining in a 3D world.
  • Fusion 360 and SketchUp both came up 6 places vs 2016.


Overall: Market Share of Packages Used in Production

In all, 50 packages were represented as being used in production in not quite 500 cases.  Here’s what the overall share looks like without any attempt at segmentation.  Let’s start with the Top 15 packages, which comprise 84% of the market:

Top 15 Players with 84% of the market…

Compared with 2016, here are the trends and movements I see:

  • The Top 4 are the same both years and in the same order.
  • AutoCAD and Inventor are pretty much exactly where they were.
  • Fusion 360 has gone from 14.6% to now 20.2%.  SolidWorks is up a touch too.  So, Fusion360 is gobbling share from players below 4th place.
  • OnShape has really fallen off, going from 3.9% to 1.4%.  That’s a big upset for them and may account for some of their increasingly aggressive negative marketing campaigns.  One thing’s for sure, something needs to change there.  They’ve raised a ton of Venture Capital and their investors are not going to be complacent if there’s a lack of growth.
  • Alibre/Geomagic gained a bit, going from 3.1% to 4.3%. That company has been newly separated from their original acquirer, so it’s interesting to keep an eye on them.
  • The Vectric products are looking good too, having come up through the ranks since 2016.

Here’s the rest of the pack:

Overall:  Mind Share of Packages Tried

If Market Share represents packages in production, packages tried is closer to being “Mind Share.”  If you’ve tried a package, you’re aware of it and it has some mind share.

In aggregate, 55 packages were tried some 1428 times.  This suggests the average respondent tries about 3 packages before settling on one.

The 15 most commonly trialed CAD packages account for 82% of the trials:

The 15 most commonly trialed CAD packages account for 80% of the trials…

Here is the adoption rate from trial to use in production of our 15 most popular CAD Packages:

Vectric’s 100% adoption rate leads me to suspect it was bought as a CAM package and users discovered the CAD is pretty good there too.

Fusion 360 and SolidWorks are about where they were in 2016, but Alibre has gone way up from a 30% adoption rate to 46.7%.  NX is also up substantially from 28% in 2016 to 35%.

Analysis: Free vs Paid

Much like our CAM Survey, we can see that Fusion 360 is here to stay, but the major players aren’t going anywhere either.  This year, for the first time, a question was asked to determine the relative Free (plus educational and pirated) share vs paid share of the packages.

Here are the overall figures:

Only about 1/4 of the responses represent free, educational, or pirated software.  The survey was completely anonymous, and we didn’t ask anyone to reveal name or email, so respondents were more likely to be truthful.

If we go back to our 15 most popular production CAD packages, here is the breakdown on what percentage of the respondents are using Free/Educational/Pirated versions for each package:

There’s no denying that free is a powerful tool to drive adoption, so I find it all the more impressive when a tool that has very low percentages of free users does so well in the market share comparison.

Here are the market shares discounting free.  In other words, we’re only considering respondents who say they paid for their production CAD:

That changes the picture quite a bit, doesn’t it?  We still have the same four on top, but they trail Solidworks by a much larger margin.  Packages like Rhino3D and Alibre also start to look a lot more competitive.

The interesting thing about free, is just as nature abhors a vacuum, shareholders abhor a lack of profits.  Sooner or later most free things tend to get a lot less free.  Free is typically used as a tool to accelerate growth until market dominance can be achieved.

I have quite a lot more analysis to do, as well as Customer Satisfaction Awards to present.  I’ll do that via an update and republishing of this article.  Make sure you’re on our mailing list if you don’t want to miss future installments.  Just scroll down to sign up.


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Recently updated on March 19th, 2024 at 09:14 am