1 year by cncdivi

It’s time to present the results of the CNCCookbook 2023 CAD Survey!

There were not quite 400 responses to our question about production CAD packages.  Thank you all very much for participating!

We have CAD Survey data for 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, so we’ll be able to see a little market trending here too.  BTW, I am calling it the “2023” survey because that’s when it was taken.  The dates above are based on when the data is for.  In early 2023, we are essentially surveying 2022.  This is confusing, so I am just going to use the date when the survey ran.

Overall: Market Share of Packages Used in Production

In all, 44 packages were represented as being used in production by our respondents, down from 46 last year. Here’s what the overall share looks like without any attempt at segmentation.  Let’s start with the Top packages, which comprise 89.7% of the market (down from 91% last year):

CAD Package Market Share 2023

Overall, Fusion 360 share fell back to 2021’ish levels.  Solidworks also lost quite a bit  of share.

AutoCAD, Vectric, and FreeCAD were all up on share.  Inventor and Rhino3D share was flat, while NC, Alibre, and SketchUp were all up on share.

BobCAD was down a little more, while Onshape, SolidEdge, and TurboCAD were all up.

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 so it has some mind share.  We can also learn from the ratio of production market share to “tried it” market share.  A package that has been tried by many and adopted by few is obviously different than a package where the majority who try it adopt it.

The average respondent tries about 3 or 4 packages before settling on one.  If you’re trying to decide on a package, be sure to try several.

The most commonly trialed CAD packages account for 96% of the trials, up from 94%.  That surely reflects consolidation and loss of mindshare for smaller players:

Fusion 360 and AutoCAD were both up a bit on mindshare.  Solidworks was down.  FreeCAD was way up, while Inventor and SketchUp were both down.  BobCAD was upas was Rhino3D and Onshape.  

None of these moves were big, so the visbility and mind share market isn’t moving very quickly.

What about that adoption ratio?  How many who tried wound up buying?

Here are the adoption results for the Top Production Market Share CAD Packages:

There are some interesting moves going on here:

  • Fusion 360 adoption is down from 52% last year to 30% this year–big drop.
  • Likewise Solidworks is down from 48% to 28%.
  • Vectric is still strong at 68%, but it has come down from 100% adoption.
  • AutoCAD, FreeCAD, and Inventor are more or less the same.
  • Rhino3D is down a touch from 26% to 21%.
  • NX is way up from 12% to 33%, interesting.
  • Alibre is also down just a touch from 26% to 23%.

This year’s audience appears to be a bit more skeptical in their adoption patterns than last year’s.  Perhaps that’s been a function of some of the economic turmoil that’s taken place.

Are You Evaluating New CAD At This Time?

Last year, only a little over 11% of respondents were interesting in changing their CAD packages.  It takes quite a while to learn one, and once you have mastered a package, it’s really tough to switch.  This all provides friction that slows down market share changes. 

This year, te number looking to change is up to a whopping 18%.  It will be interesting to see where that demand lands in next year’s survey.

Do you consider yourself a Pro or Hobby CNC’er?

Last year we had 55% Pro users and this year it’s 51%.  Whenever times are tough we tend to see a drop in Pro usage.

Analysis: Free vs Paid

Like last year, 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:

  • Use a free, educational, or pirated version:  25%
  • Paid full price:  75%

These are essentially the same numbers as we saw last year.

It’s worth keeping some perspective.  In 2018, the free category was at 29% of respondents.

Free vs Paid Market Shares

Here is the breakdown on what percentage of the respondents are using Free/Educational/Pirated versions for each of the top packages:

The most notable changes are:

  • Onshape is way up on free usage vs last year.
  • SketchUp and Fusion 360 are way down on free usage.
  • Most of the rest are up fairly aggressively with free editions.

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.

In fact, if we take out the free users, the market share situation changes pretty radically:

This marks the first year that Fusion 360 has leading market share even for paid users.  At the same time, paid share for SolidWorks has fallen considerably.  

F360 is on a roll that seems likely to continue barring some major new innovation in business model or some massive stumbling on Autodesk’s part.

Vectric’s line, AutoCAD, NEX, SolidEdge, and Sketchup are all up fairly significantly as well.

Hobby vs Pro Market Share

The paid vs free data slice is not the whole story though–see what happens when we slice the data to show Hobby vs Pro users:

Here again we can see that F360 has stolen the top spot away from SolidWorks for Professional users for the first time since our surveys began.  

Rhino3D, NX, and SolidEdge are also coming on pretty strong.

For comparison, here are relative Hobby vs Pro market share numbers:

This chart tells us the relative popularity of each package for the Pro and Hobby markets.

F360 followed by SolidWorks are the kings of both markets.  Vectric is also very strong for Hobbyists.

Customer Satisfaction Awards

I’ve saved the best for last.

Respondents were asked to rank satisfaction with their production package as:

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

We awarded 2 points for It Rocks!, 1 point for It’s Okay, and -2 points for Not Very Satisfied and then combined it all to get our final Customer Satisfaction Scores.  Based on those responses, we award a Gold and a Silver Customer Satisfaction Award to the first and second place packages.

Without further ado:

Gold Customer Satisfaction Award:  Alibre

Congratulations to the Alibre team for taking the Gold Customer Satisfaction Award!

Silver Customer Satisfaction Award:  Onshape

Congratulations to the Onshape team for taking the Silver Customer Satisfaction Award!

Custom Satisfaction Analysis

Here are the Customer Satisfaction detail scores for the last three years of our CAD Surveys:

At a time when most products were down on customer satisfaction year-on-year, our Gold and Silver award winners were way up.


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