The growth areas for BIM Design software 2017-2022

by Dan Roberts

Cambashi has released the latest version of its BIM Design Observatory. The observatory covers the key building design tasks, including Architectural, Civil, MEP and Structural design, as well as Civil and Structural analysis. The large Architectural design packages make up the largest segment, with nearly a fifth of the total user spend. Total market spend is about $4.4bn in 2017.

Country growths

The observatory also details the market at country level for almost 60 countries. Established countries like US, Japan, Germany and UK between them account for over half of the spend on this software. However, when you look at country-level growths, there are some interesting results.

Top 5 countries for growth in BIM Design software spend 2017
Figure 1 – Top 5 countries for growth in BIM Design software spend 2017

Looking at constant dollars to avoid exchange rate effects, the top five countries for growth were:

  • Ukraine
  • Turkey
  • Estonia
  • Vietnam
  • China

The first point to mention is the dip in 2016. This was primarily caused by Autodesk, who are the largest provider in the BIM Design Software market, moving from a licence-based revenue model to a subscription one, mostly affecting 2016. Countries in which Autodesk has a higher market share, such as Vietnam, show a more pronounced dip.

It’s not too much of a surprise to see China in the top five – some of the world’s biggest construction companies are Chinese and there are lots of new construction projects in the country.  In fact, China will have built 5,000km of new roads in 2018 alone.

Ukraine and Turkey both went through political problems that may have affected BIM software spend in 2016, leading to high bounce-back growth in 2017 from a low base in 2016. However, for both of these countries high growth is forecast to continue, in local currency terms, through to 2022.

Estonia and Vietnam both have very small markets, so relatively modest increases in absolute expenditure will equate to significant percentage growth. Both countries have also experienced a large growth in their construction industries of around 20% in 2017.


Forecast growths

Top 5 countries for forecast growth in BIM Design software expenditure 2017-2022
Figure 2 – Top 5 countries for forecast growth in BIM Design software expenditure 2017-2022

Just as enlightening is the list of top-growing countries forecast for 2017-2022. This time, China doesn’t make the top ten. The top five are:

  • Argentina
  • UAE
  • Ukraine
  • Vietnam
  • Qatar

Again, the effect of Autodesk’s switch to subscription licensing is evident. Those countries with higher uptake of Autodesk software will have more significant ‘bounce-back’ growth, as the effect of subscriptions evens out. China has some significant local software companies, as well as significant market share for Bentley Systems, which will dampen the ‘Autodesk’ effect.

Ukraine and Vietnam make the list again. As quite large countries with small current markets, there is plenty of scope for significant growth. It is also worth pointing out that piracy rates have dropped in both of these countries over the last few years, so switching to legitimate software licences might account for at least some of the extraordinary growth.

Qatar may be influenced by the preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, as well as having a construction boom anyway.

UAE has undergone a period of relatively modest, or even negative growth over the last few years, but is expected to return to its status as a construction hotspot.

Argentina may come as a surprise at the very top of the growth list. However, although our constant dollars measure negates currency fluctuations, it does not eliminate inflation. Argentina’s high inflation is likely to be behind much of its stellar growth forecasts.


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