Tag Archives: 2018

3D printing market to hit $16.2 billion in 2018



Analysts at Canalys say the 3D printing market will hit $16.2 billion by 2018 – representing an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.7% from 2013 to 2018.

“This is a market with enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed. Advances in technology are yielding faster print times and enabling objects to be printed in greater combinations of materials, colors and finishes,” said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd.

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“Crucially, prices are also falling, making the technology an increasingly feasible option for a broad variety of enterprise and consumer uses, restricted only by computer aided design competencies and printer availability – both of which are set to improve significantly.”

According to Shepherd, 3D printing has clearly become an established technology for producing prototypes and concept models of all manner of products.

“[However], as it matures, there is clear and substantial potential across numerous sectors, such as engineering and architecture, aerospace and defense, and medical (particularly in the fabrication of custom prosthetics), for 3D printing to have a dramatic impact within five years,” he added.

In the short-term, Canalys expects printing-to-order services to drive considerable growth while penetration lags technology advances.

“There is a clear opportunity for companies to establish 3D printing service studios to address the growing demand for the custom products that this technology makes possible. That demand will continue to grow, driven by three main factors: customization potential, convenience and manufacturing efficiencies. Items can be printed and personalized to order,” Canalys research analyst Joe Kempton explained.

“They can often be printed locally, rather than necessitating designs be sent off to large, sometimes distant, manufacturing facilities. 3D printing also promises less material waste and often lower energy consumption than conventional manufacturing processes. Given these benefits and the breadth of use cases, there is no doubt that this market is set for robust and significant growth.”

More specifically, the value of the 3D printer market itself grew 109% in 2013 to $711 million and is forecast to grow 79% in 2014 to hit $1.3 billion. The market value is expected to grow to $5.4 billion by 2018, with value growth reflecting increasing commercial printer volumes and, as such, also drive growth in the volume and value of consumables shipments, including both resistant printing materials and removable or dissolvable support materials.

“We are at the inflection point for 3D printing. It has now moved from a new and much-hyped, but largely unproven, manufacturing process to a technology with the ability to produce real, innovative, complex and robust products,” Shepherd concluded.

“This is a fast-evolving market, but it is still in its infancy. Expect to see new major entrants making a significant impact in the industry in the coming years, including giants such as HP. As barriers fall, new use cases emerge, the technology improves and new entrants join, this is a market that will look very different in five years’ time.”

Multichannel retailers to use 3D printing tech

Miriam Burt, research vice president at Gartner, says at least 7 of the world’s top 10 multichannel retailers will be using 3D printing technology to generate custom stock orders by 2018.

“Some retailers are already selling 3D printers to consumers, and as they become more readily available, consumers could use them to ‘manufacture’ their own custom-designed products,” said Burt. 

”We also expect to see 3D copying services and 3D printing bureaus emerge where customers bring 3D models to a retailer or provider and have increasingly high-end parts and designs printed, not just in plastics but in materials including ceramics, stainless steel, and cobalt and titanium alloys.”

Meanwhile, Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner, notes that the day when 3D-bioprinted human organs will readily available is drawing ever closer. Indeed, the Hangzhou Dianzi University in China recently announced the biomaterial 3D printer Regenovo, which printed a small working kidney that lasted four months. Earlier in 2013, a two-year-old child in the US received a windpipe built with her own stem cells.

According to Basiliere, 3D printing technology will have “pervasive appeal” in medical device markets — especially in economically weak and war-torn regions — where it addresses high demand for prosthetic and other medical devices. 

In addition, increasing familiarity within the material sciences and computer-augmented design services sectors, and integration with healthcare and hospitals, will further increase demand from 2015 onwards.

“The overall success rates of 3D printing use cases in emerging regions will escalate for three main reasons: the increasing ease of access and commoditization of the technology; ROI; and because it simplifies supply chain issues with getting medical devices to these regions,” he added.

 “Other primary drivers are a large population base with inadequate access to healthcare, in regions often marred by internal conflicts, wars or terrorism.”