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Market overview of BIM and CAD software usage of European architects

Digitalisation has majorly changed the construction sector. The impact of digitalisation is especially apparent in the way in which architects design and manage projects. On the one hand, digitalisation of the construction process and technical project management is shown by the growth of Building Information Modelling (BIM) usage among architects. On the other hand, the way they design has moved from paper to using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software over the past decades.

Along with this trend of digitalisation, the demand for BIM and CAD software grew, which led software developers and suppliers to focus more on the world of construction or even become BIM and CAD specialists. Given that architects are the main users of these types of software, we included them in USP Marketing Consultancy’s Q2 2021 European Architectural Barometer and asked Architects from eight European countries which BIM and CAD software they use the most.

Clear software market leaders among European architects

Looking at the usage of BIM software and CAD software among architects, Autodesk is a clear market leader in Europe. 45% of architects use Autodesk REVIT as BIM software, and 47% use Autodesk AUTOCAD as CAD software. On top of that, an additional one out of five architects reports using REVIT as CAD software, meaning Autodesk actually has a market share of 66% in the CAD category. The runner-up is Graphisoft’s ARCHICAD, which is used by about one-third of architects as BIM software and by about a quarter as CAD software.

Together, Autodesk and Graphisoft are the two players dominating the European market, with between 80% and 90% of the architects using their software for BIM or CAD purposes. This dominance of two players does not mean other players do not stand a chance, however. Europe is a large market, and area-related preferences can lead to a picture that differs vastly from the average, as becomes clear when zooming in on specific countries.


Major country differences: the German example 

In Germany, Autodesk’s software is used as CAD software by just over a third of the architects, and Graphisoft’s Archicad by just under a third. But there is another main player in the German Market, Nemetschek, whose Nemetschek group and Allplan software is used by 34% of the German architects for CAD purposes.

Regarding BIM software, Nemetschek has a substantial market share in Germany as well. Nemetschek group software and Nemetschek’s Vectorworks and Allplan are used as BIM software by 31% of German architects. Together, they have overtaken Archicad’s position, which is now used by 27% of architects as BIM software, and have a market share equal to Autodesk’s BIM software.

Major opportunities for software developers

Combined with other market information like usage shares, country-specific information can be the key to success for software developers who target architects and even the construction sector as a whole. In Germany, 95% of architects are currently using CAD software, meaning a rather saturated market. However, only 37% of German architects use BIM, and with the prospect of this share rising to 59% in 2025, there is a lot to gain still for companies offering BIM software.

To find out what the local BIM and CAD software situation is among architects in all of eight major European markets, as well as their economic development and forecasts, we refer you to the Q2 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Architectural Barometer.