Architecture, Engineering & Construction:

27 surprising AEC statistics for 2023

Need a bit of inspiration to guide your 2023 AEC outreach strategy? Look no further! Using insights from 4,798 professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction professionals, we'll walk you through some of the essential trends for understanding and influencing behavior in 2023.

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What does AEC stand for?

AEC stands for architecture, engineering, and construction and is a commonly used initialism among professionals and within the industry. Professionals working in the AEC industry can come from a wide range of specializations and backgrounds: Commercial Architects, Interior Architects, MEP Engineers, Infrastructure Engineers, and General Contractors – to name a few. These professionals represent some of the key stakeholders involved in deciding which building products to include in a building project.

With that bit out of the way, let’s dive into the statistics.

 

Do AEC professionals expect to adopt more digital tools in 2023?

The building industry is known for being a digital laggard. However, a lot of companies had to ramp up their digital efforts during the pandemic – construction included. In 2020, 61% of our respondents said they would expect more tools post-COVID-19. But was it a momentary fluke or a catalyst for permanent change?

The results seem to align with the second option. In the 2022 user survey, a whopping 80.5% expect to adopt more digital tools in years to come – a 20% increase compared to 2020.

Architecture, engineering and construction professions' attitutes toward digital adoption in 2022

 

Where do architects and engineers find building products?

As a marketer, you want to improve your brand visibility. Drive up awareness. Make specifiers enter the journey, feel connected to your brand and specify your products. 

But…

To tick all those boxes, you need to find out where your target audiences are and how they discover products. So, what's the favored method for the latter? We crunched the numbers from the 2020 and 2022 surveys:

Graph displaying how architects, engineers and construction professionals discover products

  • Online search engines: +8.5%
  • Fellow designers: -4.5%
  • Manufacturer websites: +1%
  • Trade shows: -3%
  • Magazines and print: -1.5%
  • Sales representatives -0.5%

 

68% of AEC professionals prefer to find products online

The results tell us another interesting story; one of a clear preference between physical and digital modes of product exploration. 

In 2020, 38% of the users surveyed discovered new products through face-to-face interactions – assuming that fellow designers, sales representatives, and trade shows are offline. Two years later, only 26% do the same.

So, where did they go? They went straight to digital channels. In 2022, a whopping 68% of surveyed professionals surf the web to discover new products. But what does this mean for you, as a manufacturer? BIMobject's very own Research Lead:


Check out more product launches and news >

 

How do architects & engineers spend most of their time?

Building projects involve a lot of stakeholders. A lot of money. And a lot of moving parts. But while Information is fundamental for project success, the hunt can easily morph into a black hole eating away the working day. So, how and where are specifiers spending most of their time?

[Queue the 30-second Jeopardy theme song to set the mood]. 

Is the answer… 

  • a) finding manufacturers? 
  • b) Comparing products? 
  • c) Finding compatible products?
  • d) Figuring out which people to contact for more information? 
  • e) Or is it finding the right information?

*beep!*

Designers spend most time finding compatible products... 

According to our 2022 survey, 42% of professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction claim to spend most time finding compatible products.

… but almost 40% struggle to find manufacturers

Not falling too far behind on the time-sucking equation is: finding the right manufacturers. In fact, 38.5% of surveyed AEC professionals claim to spend a lot of time finding you.

Want to make it easier for specifiers to find you? Here’s how >

Product comparisons gobble up time…

12.5% of architects, engineers, and construction professionals spend most of their time comparing products. In all honestly, this number isn’t all that shocking, seeing how big of a part building products can play in the aggregated performance of building projects – particularly if managed in a BIM environment. Read up on the importance of construction data now >

… As does the search for people & information

Last on the time-swallowing list is the hunt for people to get more information. Out of the 2,225 respondents in our user survey, 7% say they spend the most time finding the right person to contact for more information. Whether that information relates to product performance, geometry, or color availability is unknown, but building a wall to product selection can easily become a no-go (or, no-specify).

Want to know how you can make time & collaboration run smoother? Get the tips and tricks now >

or... Get a wee inkling in this quick introduction video:

Trade shows are back! 

Well… Sorta.

A few years ago, the future of trade shows was a bit shaky. Non-existent. Gone. Canceled. Left in the COVID dust. You get the drift. Back in 2022, our survey unveiled that 93% of architects, engineers, and construction professionals steered clear of trade shows, and 43% wanted to wait until COVID-19 had disappeared or a vaccine had been deployed.

This wasn’t a shocker. The world was in a state of unrest, and fairgrounds were either closed or lacked sprawl. But the surprising part about the 2020 survey was that 50% said they were unsure if they’d go back post-COVID.

AEC survey trade show attendance in 2020

So, has the statical frown been turned upside down in 2022? Our most recent survey sheds a ray of hope on the return of trade shows. We asked 2,225 AEC professionals if they have attended trade shows since the vaccine pushed COVID out of the agenda. The results show:

Almost 30% of specifiers have attended a trade show since COVID-19.

The 2022 survey unveils that a third of architects & engineers have returned to trade shows. 20% of the respondents have gone more than two, while 9.5% have walked the fairgrounds up to two times.

The number of architects, engineers, and construction professionals who have not attended – but plan to – amount to 20% of the respondents. In sum: almost half of them have left the 2020 trepidation behind.

The large(st) group of specifiers has decided not to attend 

Out of the 2,225 respondents in the 2022 survey, a whopping 32% say they do not intend to attend trade shows in the future.

An additional 18.5% are undecided and could create an upward swing in attendance. But the fact is that 2.5% more respondents have decided not to attend rather than attend is indicative of a new (or multifaceted) route to tying business relationships with specifiers.

AEC survey trade show attendance in 2022

Want tips on how to approach flailing trade show attendance?
Get your free copy of Manufacturing the marketing mix now >

 

4 out of 5 AEC professionals premiere sustainable design

By now, we know that architects are digitally eager. We know that engineers frequent the WWW to discover products. And we know that interior designers still are a bit iffy on trade shows. 

But what about sustainability?

According to the 2022 survey, it’s a critical aspect of the design process and building product selection. As a matter of fact, 80% of architecture, engineering, and construction professionals feel it's important to design something sustainable. Out of that 80%, a whopping 74% exclaim that’s very important. In 2020, only 49% said the same – a 25% increase in two years.

Illustration displaying the percentage of AEC professionals who premiere sustainable design

Riccardo Piazzai, Architect & BIM project Lead at Schmidt Hammer Lassen, is an example of an AEC professional who makes sustainability a mantra. Want to know how he does it and what he needs from manufacturers? Read the full interview now >

Who's triggering the development of sustainable design?

Healthier planet, people, and economies: the benefits of building green(er) are overwhelming. The World Green Building Council states that there were 1.04 billion square meters of certified green building spaces around the globe in 2016. Additionally, the U.S. Green Building Council says that certified projects are estimated to have specified more than €100 billion in green materials. The numbers continue to rise, but it begs the question: who's triggering the development of green buildings?

A staggering 45% of the respondents in our 2022 say client demands are the main drivers for sustainable design. Now, this isn't too surprising considering the role clients can play in building projects. But what about the remaining 55%? The numbers are quite evenly scattered across the green board:

Illustration displaying the top triggers for sustainable design

Want to appease the needs of AEC professionals in 2023? Get tips on how to reach, engage and influence designers now >

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