2 months by cncdivi

It’s time to present the results of the CNCCookbook 2024 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, 2021, 2022, and 2023, so we’ll be able to see a little market trending here too.  BTW, I am calling it the “2024” survey because that’s when it was taken.  The dates above are based on when the data is for.  In early 2024, we are essentially surveying 2023.  This is confusing, so I am just going to use the date when the survey ran.

Overall: Market Share of CAD Packages Used in Production

In all, 59 packages were represented as being used in production by our respondents, up from 44 last year. Here’s what the overall share looks like without any attempt at segmentation.  Let’s start with the Top packages, which comprise 87.7% of the market (down from 89.7% last year):

Top CAD Package Market Share: Production, CNCCookbook 2024 Survey

Overall, we can see the following major trends:

  • Fusion 360 continues to lead the market, though its market share fell slightly.
  • SolidWorks remains in the #2 position and gained a little over 2 points of market share.
  • FreeCAD is up solidly and steps into 3rd place.
  • 4th and 5th places are held by AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventory.  AutoCAD is down slightly, while Autodesk Inventor is up.
  • Alibre/Geomagic is in 6th place, up from 9th place last year.
  • The Vectric family is down on share slightly and down on position having fallen from 4th place last year to 7th place this year.
  • Rhino3D is down considerably on share to 2.9%, and fell from 7th to 8th place.
  • Onshape, SolidEdge, BobCad, SketchUp, and NX all lost share.

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 Top 10 most trialed packages all increased their mind share year over year.  The first package not to was #11 BobCad, which lost mindshare as fewer people tried it. 

Alibre and SolidEdge each picked up a bit of share, as did NX, Cadkey, Vectric, and the rest.  Only TurboCAD lost share.

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:

These are sorted in order of most to least tried + bought.

The top 3 players, Fusion 360, AutoCAD, and Solidworks were almost unchanged in their conversion rates.  FreeCAD grew from 14.4% conversion to 18.5%, but that’s still well below the leaders.

BobCAD, Rhino3D, onShape, Pro/Engineer, and Sketchup all saw their conversion rates reduced as did SolidEdge, TurboCAD, NX, and Cadkey.

Vectric’s conversion rate remains high at 53.6%, but it is down from 68% last year.

Are You Evaluating New CAD At This Time?

Last year, a little over 18% of respondents were interesting in changing their CAD packages.  Given how hard it is to learn a new CAD package and switch, that seemed like a very high number who were in the market to change packages. 

This year, the number looking to change is down to 14.4%.  It’s lower, but that is still a historically large number of folks looking to change.  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 51.5%.  Whenever times are tough we tend to see a drop in Pro usage.

Analysis: Free vs Paid

We asked this question 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:  32.5%, up from 25% in 2023.
  • Paid full price:  67.5%, down from 75% in 2023.

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:

Most of the packages are showing significant upticks in their percentage of free users.  Notable exceptions include FreeCAD (hard to understand why they aren’t all free?) and Alibre.

In fact, if we take out the free users, the market share situation changes to this:

In this chart, we see the following trends:

  • The mighty Fusion 360 has lost a bit of share.  
  • SolidWorks is solidly (pardon our pun) up on share.
  • AutoCAD is down.  This package is pretty long in the tooth.
  • Autodesk Inventor is up
  • Vectric is down
  • Alibre is up solidly.
  • Rhino3D is down as are OnShape, SoolidEdge, SketchUp, NX, BobCAD and many of the others.

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 are the market shares for Pro Users only:

As we can see:

  • F360 continues to grow share.  It’s up 2 points from 26.7% to 28.8%.
  • SolidWorks is also growing share, up from 22.6% to 26.5%.  So in fact, it is gaining on F360.
  • FreeCAD, Inventor, and Vectric are down slightly.
  • AutoCAD is up not quite a point.
  • Rhino3D is down hard from 8.9% to 4.7%.  So is Onshape, falling from 2.1% to 1.2%.
  • Alibre is up quite a lot from 2.1% to 4.1%.
  • Most of the lower share packages are down except for Pro/Engineer.

I think the most interesting news is that SolidWorks is regaining share versus F360.  That suggests that folks gave F360 a good try over the last few years, but that at least some are going back to SolidWorks.

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:  Rhino3D


Congratulations to the Rhino3D team for taking the Gold Customer Satisfaction Award!

Silver Customer Satisfaction Award:  SolidWorks

Ds solidworks logo above the CNCCookbook silver Market Share CAD Survey customer satisfaction award text on a black background.

Congratulations to the SolidWorks 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:

Here are the trends we’re seeing:

  • Rhino3D continues to increase its customer satisfaction year over year.  This year they had another solid uptick
  • SolidWorks saw an uptick, but it’s success is largely due to all the competitors experiencing decreases in customer satisfaction.
  • Alibre, Vectric, Onshape, Pro/Engineer, Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, SolidEdge, BobCAD, CadKey, and SketchUp all saw a decline in their overall customer satisfaction.  
  • F360 had a very slight increase in satisfaction.  NX a bit more. FreeCAD is also up, though it isn’t particularly high yet.

For some reason, the market was pretty critical of a broad range of CAD packages.


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Recently updated on April 4th, 2024 at 05:36 am