3D CAD Software Continues Growth Trajectory

New research indicates that 3D CAD software will continue to grow into a $13.54 billion industry by 2026.

(Image courtesy of Research and Markets.)

(Image courtesy of Research and Markets.)

While 3D CAD software developers knew they were onto something in the 1990s, they may not have suspected just how big the industry would become. Recently released global market research indicates that the industry was at $10.1 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $13.54 billion by 2026.

North America continued to hold the top spot of market revenue share at 32.6 percent. Research indicates that the trend will likely continue due to a number of factors, including the higher number of providers and the expansion of software usage into new segments, including health care, research and entertainment. The Asia Pacific region has the fastest CAGR (compound annual growth rate), while the Middle East and Africa region has seen a steady rise, especially in the oil and gas industry.

Many factors play into the growth of 3D CAD software. One driving force is the automotive industry. From design to prototyping, streamlining workflows and being able to make changes before it’s too late have made 3D software a cost-effective solution. Packaging has also seen a rise in 3D CAD usage. With a focus on efficiency, this software enables businesses to create complex designs that have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Health care has also seen an uptick in usage thanks to the ability to make 3D models from medical images for things such as implants and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment. Close behind is architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). 3D CAD software enables the production of complex and detailed design fragments. With more focus on sustainability and smart housing, this software is playing a key role in creating the buildings of the future.

Along with increasing demand from different industries and companies large and small, the rise of the cloud and other advances in technology have solidified the efficiency of using 3D CAD software.

Perhaps another side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that businesses across industries were forced to look for new solutions to keep moving forward. The evolution of cloud-based platforms became a solution for many. It provided the ability to collaborate with necessary parties—from designers to stakeholders—without the added costs and time to set up processes. The benefits of simulation to optimize the design process have likely influenced this segment’s projected CAGR of 11 percent from 2021 to 2028.

From 3D scanning to virtual reality (VR) the Internet of Things (IoT) and more, technological innovations have made 3D CAD software more than just a tool for design. While once used only for new parts, companies have started to incorporate other technologies into their CAD software, such as scan-to-CAD applications, which provides a way to get the necessary data on an old part for recreation.

This mingling of technologies may be especially important for the manufacturing industry, which often relies on older equipment to get the job done. Manufacturing held the largest revenue share in 2020 at 24.5 percent and is expected to continue that trajectory.

Lastly, 3D CAD software was once an expensive investment that often came in a one-size-fits-all option, which may have kept some companies from making the leap. Many software developers have moved to a subscription-based model, which allows small companies with leaner budgets to enjoy the benefits of the software. As for larger companies, the top software developers now offer customized solutions.