What trends will shape the CAD sector during the next 5 years?

Published on April 29, 2019 by Carlota V.
cad sector

A recent report from the international market research firm Business Advantage revealed the global 2018/2019 CAD trends we can expect. The research firm had released a similar report in 2014 – therefore, his new data allows comparison with results from the past 4 years. The survey drew on the participation of a sample of 626 CAD users and decision makers across a range of company sizes and industries worldwide. Moreover, 16 topics were addressed relating to the perceived importance, actual and future usage of CAD. The report captures and identifies the key trends in the CAD sector today and for the next five years.

Adoption Ratio of the 16 technologies

The report focused on standard technologies, known by many, such as 3D modeling or 2D drafting but also more novel technologies such as generative design and virtual reality that have the potential of being more transformative for the sector. To understand the evolution of the CAD sector, the report analyses the awareness and usage of these technologies, using a metric they call the ‘adoption ratio’. This ratio refers to the number of respondents who use a given technology compared to the number of respondents that are aware of it. For example, 56% of respondents were aware of CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) but only 31% use CAM – so the adoption ratio is 55%. In terms of novel technologies, CAD users and decision makers were asked about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud-based CAD, generative design and mobile access to CAD. The adoption ratio varied – mobile access to CAD had a 46% adoption ratio whereas artificial intelligence 8%. Nevertheless, the report found that the technologies with the lowest adoption ratio were the ones with the most predicted growth over the next 3 to 5 years.

The list of trends & their adoption ratio:

Importance and Usage of the 16 technologies

Respondents were also asked to rate each technology in terms of importance to their business. Users and decision makers perceived 3D modeling and 2D drafting as the most important technologies. These were also the most used. Artificial intelligence was ranked as the least important technology, followed by the other technologies that had a low adoption ratio – suggesting importance to a business is strongly linked to the adoption ratio. The report also found that BIM, CAM and collaborative design were growing in significance compared to previous years.

Credits: Business Advantage | CAD Trends 2018/19 report

The report aims to identify which of these technologies will present the most opportunities for the CAD market in the years to come. As mentioned above, it found that the trends currently considered the most important to users were reaching market saturation. The report explains that this is due to their high current usage, which leaves little scope to further expand reach. The more niche trends on the other hand present more future growth potential. Machine learning for example had very low current usage and importance. However, it presents the highest future growth potential across all trends. The report forecasts that it will grow by 250% over the next 3 to 5 years, driven by Americas, APAC and large companies. More than 50% of respondents attributed ‘improved equipment effectiveness’ as the reason for planning to use this technology.

The list of trends & their potential future growth:

3D Printing

As we are a 3D printing media, we had to mention 3D printing and how it could affect the CAD sector. In fact, 3D printing showed a good level of current usage for this sector, lower importance and below average future potential. Today, 31% of respondents use the technology in-house and within the next 3 to 5 years 48% said they would use it, resulting in a growth rate of 54%. This increase in usage, attributed to the manufacturing sector, non-AEC  industry sectors and large companies is below average compared to the other technologies (88%). 25% of respondents currently using and planning to use 3D printing use 3D Systems; 19% use Stratasys; and 16% use Makerbot. Furthermore, 3D printers are generally used by this audience for prototyping (80%) followed by research and design (68%).  Finally, nearly 70% of those who use 3D printing cited ‘design improvements’ as the main benefit of this technology.

The Most Used CAD Software

Credits: Business Advantage | CAD Trends 2018/19 report

You can find the full report and more information on Business Advantage’s website HERE.

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