Nearly 133,000 3D printers were shipped globally in 2014, accounting for $3.3 billion in revenue.
If you thought 3D printing was merely a fad, you thought wrong. According to Canalys, the market will continue to build upon its momentum from last year which saw 133,000 printers shipped — a 68% jump from 2013. This resulted in $3.3 billion in revenue generated by printer sales and their associated materials. That figure is expected to continue its growth, projecting upward to $5.2 billion by 2015 and $20.2 billion by 2019 — an expected compound annual CAGR of 44% from 2014 to 2019.
“As we expected, the 3D printing market has grown substantially over the past few years,” said Canalys Research analyst Joe Kempton. “There has also been a substantial increase in the number of vendors entering this space, with many coming from Asia, challenging the previous dominance of 3D printing hotspots such as Germany and the USA.”
The growth is being contributed to a combination of lower prices, new forms of manufacturing methods and improved printing speeds. Beyond that, the ability to accelerate product creation via crowdfunding platforms has also spurred more demand for 3D printers.
In a study released just the other week, the research firm estimated that 75% of 3D printers shipped in Q4 2014 were priced below $10,000. In that three-month span alone, the total market revenue exceeded over $1 billion for the first time in a single quarter, with some 41,000 machines shipped worldwide. This represented a 24% rise quarter-over-quarter. Regionally, the Americas accounted for nearly four in 10 (42%) of overall purchases, followed by EMEA and Asia-Pacific at at 31% and 27%, respectively.
“Whereas these consumer printers used to be almost exclusively material extrusion devices, we’ve seen large growth rates in the vat polymerization segment as prices have fallen, which means more options for consumers. There were large, positive growth rates for the dominant consumer players, such as MakerBot and Ultimaker. But also substantial increases in shipment numbers from Chinese vendors, such as XYZPrinting, which have benefited from creating consumer-friendly 3D printers at impressively low price points.”
Undoubtedly, the 3D printing revolution will revolutionize traditional manufacturing as Makers will be able to print real-life products and part replacements right from the comforts of their own home or office. In the coming months, a vast majority of these printers will be plug-and-play, turnkey devices that will begin to enter the sweet spot of $500 — a price point at which many consumers will likely shell out the cash.
It’s bound to have a major impact on industries like aerospace, automotive and healthcare over the next five years as well. Companies such as General Electric, Boeing, and BMW have already invested millions of dollars into the next-gen technology.
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Maker Movement has not only been using Atmel powered 3D printers like MakerBot, RepRap and CEL for quite some time now, but a slew of new devices popping up on crowdfunding sites are packed with AVR MCUs, most notably the ATmega2560.
Ready to delve deeper into the future of 3D printing? You can find the latest Canalys report here.