Which Is More Popular – SolidWorks Or Inventor?

Devon Sowell of 3-D Design Solutions, a company that provides SolidWorks Engineering Support and Design Services, left this comment on my Facebook wall: “in 11 years/40 clients, only 1 used Inventor, interesting.” Devon was comparing the popularity of Inventor to SolidWorks. Actually, I am not surprised at his 39:1 ratio favoring SolidWorks (I am assuming that the remaining 39 clients used SolidWorks) because Devon is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and most likely will look for and get work that involves SolidWorks.

As it turns out at SYCODE we have a similar and highly unscientific ratio as well. We develop data exchange plug-ins for all the mid-range MCAD systems. The kind of files that our add-ins import and export are not specific to any one industry and are actually quite spread out. I know there are many if’s ang but’s attached to this but I get a good sense of the popularity of CAD systems based on the number of downloads that we receive of our plug-ins for them.

Unscientific as it may be, I find the data quite interesting, if not amusing. Here is the break up of the number of people that downloaded our SolidWorks, Inventor and Solid Edge plug-ins. And to make things more interesting let’s add Alibre Design as well.

SolidWorks -> 71%
Inventor -> 12%
Solid Edge -> 12%
Alibre Design -> 5%

So according to my numbers the ratio of SolidWorks to Inventor is 6:1. However, it is important to note that we have 20 SolidWorks add-ins, wheras we have only 11 Inventor add-ins, which is about half. So halving the ratio I get a SolidWorks to Inventor popularity ratio of 3:1.

On the flipside, one could argue that this 3:1 ratio is far from a popularity ratio. Since all our add-ins for SolidWorks, Inventor, Solid Edge and Alibre Design are file import and export add-ins, one could call this ratio a “pissed off” ratio. I mean 3 times more SolidWorks customers are pissed off that their software cannot read a particular file format.

Like said, quite amusing šŸ˜‰

  • Hello Deelip-

    Thanks for posting this information, yes unscientific but interesting.

    Devon

  • Hello Deelip-

    Thanks for posting this information, yes unscientific but interesting.

    Devon

  • John

    Just did a search on Indeed.com for SolidWorks, Catia, Unigraphics, Pro/E and Autodesk Inventor job postings.

    Out of a total 6,566 jobs:

    SolidWorks = 39%
    Pro/E = 23%
    Catia = 20%
    Unigraphics = 11%
    Inventor = 4%
    Solid Edge = 3%

  • John

    Just did a search on Indeed.com for SolidWorks, Catia, Unigraphics, Pro/E and Autodesk Inventor job postings.

    Out of a total 6,566 jobs:

    SolidWorks = 39%
    Pro/E = 23%
    Catia = 20%
    Unigraphics = 11%
    Inventor = 4%
    Solid Edge = 3%

  • You are quite quick to point out inconsistencies in any CAD vendor’s position, of course, all in the name of “here’s me helping every CAD user in the world”. Quite often you seem to highlight their product’s immature translators while plugging away your own company’s interop products, without even acknowledging, as most respectable bloggers do, any conflict of interest. Interestingly, the other bloggers who respond to your blog dont seem to catch the distinction either.

    There is no harm in displaying ads for products, and even accepting third party ads shilling their wares. But be upfront about it and identify it clearly. To peddle your products under the guise of insightful and incisive “independent voice of the masses” is quite unprofessional. It is similar to having advertisements in newspapers that have the same “look and feel” of press articles. Some people understand it for what they are, but most people dont get the difference and thats exactly what the purveyor is shooting for. Like I said, insidious and unprofessional.

  • You are quite quick to point out inconsistencies in any CAD vendor’s position, of course, all in the name of “here’s me helping every CAD user in the world”. Quite often you seem to highlight their product’s immature translators while plugging away your own company’s interop products, without even acknowledging, as most respectable bloggers do, any conflict of interest. Interestingly, the other bloggers who respond to your blog dont seem to catch the distinction either.

    There is no harm in displaying ads for products, and even accepting third party ads shilling their wares. But be upfront about it and identify it clearly. To peddle your products under the guise of insightful and incisive “independent voice of the masses” is quite unprofessional. It is similar to having advertisements in newspapers that have the same “look and feel” of press articles. Some people understand it for what they are, but most people dont get the difference and thats exactly what the purveyor is shooting for. Like I said, insidious and unprofessional.

  • Canthaveit Bothways,

    I believe I already replied to you here (http://www.deelip.com/?p=750&cpage;=1#comment-1506).

    Let me remind you that the purpose of allowing anonymous comments is to allow people to speak their mind without getting into too much trouble with their employers, friends, etc.

    I am sorry I cannot take your advice. You see, I believe advice coming from people who don’t have the guts and/or decency to put their name to it is not worth anything.

  • Canthaveit Bothways,

    I believe I already replied to you here (http://www.deelip.com/?p=750&cpage=1#comment-1506).

    Let me remind you that the purpose of allowing anonymous comments is to allow people to speak their mind without getting into too much trouble with their employers, friends, etc.

    I am sorry I cannot take your advice. You see, I believe advice coming from people who don’t have the guts and/or decency to put their name to it is not worth anything.

  • Michael Malov

    To Deelip:

    Your arithmetic is a bit foolish because you should to take into consideration a nomber of each software users. If SW/AI users number ratio is greater than 3:1 you calculated for downloads, so Inventor is less able to import files. Your playing with numbers is valuable for children only, not for engineers.

  • Though wholly unscientific, I think the information is interesting. Having recently gone through the purchasing process with both Solidworks and Inventor, they both make claims of market superiority but neither provided any real data to indicate they understood or could quantify their market position. For me, the decision between the two became pretty clear-cut based on some functionality that Inventor had (Design Accelerators) that Solidworks just didn’t offer.

    I think as technologies continue to converge and ineroperability improves, it’s less and less important which tool you pick to work with as they’re all good. When you don’t have a legacy system to steer you one way or the other, the race can be pretty close.

  • Though wholly unscientific, I think the information is interesting. Having recently gone through the purchasing process with both Solidworks and Inventor, they both make claims of market superiority but neither provided any real data to indicate they understood or could quantify their market position. For me, the decision between the two became pretty clear-cut based on some functionality that Inventor had (Design Accelerators) that Solidworks just didn’t offer.

    I think as technologies continue to converge and ineroperability improves, it’s less and less important which tool you pick to work with as they’re all good. When you don’t have a legacy system to steer you one way or the other, the race can be pretty close.

  • Michael: “Your playing with numbers is valuable for children only, not for engineers.”

    Precisely. I am glad you found my numbers interesting enough to leave a comment šŸ˜‰

    But seriously, please don’t take these numbers seriously. They are far from accurate or even sensible. I think John’s job numbers give a better sense of how the pieces of the pie look.

  • Michael: “Your playing with numbers is valuable for children only, not for engineers.”

    Precisely. I am glad you found my numbers interesting enough to leave a comment šŸ˜‰

    But seriously, please don’t take these numbers seriously. They are far from accurate or even sensible. I think John’s job numbers give a better sense of how the pieces of the pie look.

  • Mike

    Personally I think that a scan of job postings would be the best indicator or popularity, unscientificly anyway.

    One (me) would think that the more popular one paticular system is the more job postings there would be. Maybe that’s a bit flawed thinking but that’s my thinking anyway.

  • Mike

    Personally I think that a scan of job postings would be the best indicator or popularity, unscientificly anyway.

    One (me) would think that the more popular one paticular system is the more job postings there would be. Maybe that’s a bit flawed thinking but that’s my thinking anyway.

  • DAN

    I guess this numbers will start to change soon. With the entering of direct edit in Inventor and Solid Edge (and others), Solid Works will lost a big piece of market share.

  • DAN

    I guess this numbers will start to change soon. With the entering of direct edit in Inventor and Solid Edge (and others), Solid Works will lost a big piece of market share.

  • John

    DAN,

    The job posting numbers proportions have been pretty consistent for some time.

    Given that products like IronCAD, CoCreate and KeyCreator have had direct editing features for a long time, I don’t think you will see much of a shift.

    Perhaps Autodesk will be the vendor that makes direct editing successful, but their track record for robust MCAD innovations is pretty inconsistent.

  • John

    DAN,

    The job posting numbers proportions have been pretty consistent for some time.

    Given that products like IronCAD, CoCreate and KeyCreator have had direct editing features for a long time, I don’t think you will see much of a shift.

    Perhaps Autodesk will be the vendor that makes direct editing successful, but their track record for robust MCAD innovations is pretty inconsistent.

  • DAN

    John

    I agree that direct edit exist for a long time, but now is when almost all MCAD software is adopting this tech. The only one that seems to be without it is Solid Works. That’s why i think like that.

  • DAN

    John

    I agree that direct edit exist for a long time, but now is when almost all MCAD software is adopting this tech. The only one that seems to be without it is Solid Works. That’s why i think like that.

  • CAD Guy

    Deelip,
    I guess you must be extremely happy with SolidWorks as it gives you much of your business. Your love/hate relationship with SolidWorks clearly shows it šŸ™‚

  • CAD Guy

    Deelip,
    I guess you must be extremely happy with SolidWorks as it gives you much of your business. Your love/hate relationship with SolidWorks clearly shows it šŸ™‚

  • CAD Guy,

    He! He! I did not show you my AutoCAD numbers šŸ˜‰

  • CAD Guy,

    He! He! I did not show you my AutoCAD numbers šŸ˜‰

  • Michael Malov

    To Deelip:

    Your arithmetic is a bit foolish because you should to take into consideration a nomber of each software users. If SW/AI users number ratio is greater than 3:1 you calculated for downloads, so Inventor is less able to import files. Your playing with numbers is valuable for children only, not for engineers.

  • Anonymous

    wait, so their isn’t any credible market share analysis regarding this industry. How does region play into this?

  • Jack

    Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’ve been considering learning another package aside from Solidworks; perhaps Solid Edge or Inventor.

    For the record, I found nothing specious in your blog post as some suggested. Truly, what’s more troubling is the fact that in most any group of engineers there’s always one or two that want to bash others & suggest they are superior. Why the dissension, fellows?