In 2012, 2011 and 2010 the market for #3DPrinting has produced solid growth numbers - averaging 27.36 % over the course of the three years. This translates to $2.204 billion in 2012 and includes the low-cost (under $5,000) desktop or pro-sumer #3Dprinter segment, which averaged 346% every year from 2008 through 2011. Growth in this hardware segment slowed significantly in 2012, to 46.3% and seems to indicate a pause in mass adoption.
I believe that the breakneck speed at which innovation is occurring is giving the hobbyists, do-it-yourselfers, engineering students, educational institutions some reason to delay their investment decision. The flip-side of the equation is that as is the case with all technology, when the only constant is innovation, you can never have the latest and greatest because there is always a new product or feature that is going to be hitting the market.
We are seeing growing interest in the small to mid-size business, design and prototyping firm and education categories and believe that they will lead the way in embracing additive manufacturing in the desktop and prosumer hardware segment, slowly moving to fully embrace the technology by ultimately investing in a high-end additive manufacturing solution from the likes of industry leaders such as Stratasys, 3DSystems, ExOne, MCor Technologies, etc.
At the high end of the market, the players are solidifying their positions and the hardware is continually capable of achieving more seemingly everyday. In the desktop market, there have been several new entrants to the extent that there is a new manufacturer launching a kickstarter campaign or entering the #personal #3Dprinter market on almost a weekly basis. In our opinion, there could not be a better time to be in the market for a personal or prosumer #3Dprinter, although with all the new players and entrants into the market, it can make the purchase decision challenging.
At DesignBox3D, we are choosing to work with firms that are going to be around for the long-term and have solid, reliable products that are continually improving. If you cannot distinguish from a #3Dprinting experience in terms of time, portability, build size, price, support or print material and print speed, then your product is the same as all the others on the market today and you are indistinguishable from the other more established firms.
The additive manufacturing industry is growing and evolving rapidly and according to Wohlers Associates, the sale of #3Dprinted products is expected to hit $6 billion by 2017 and $10.8 billion by 2021. A valuable reminder here is that it took the industry 20 years to surpass the $1 billion threshold.
If you are looking to embrace #3Dprinting for your business or personal use - the best opportunity for the lowest investment is to start with a desktop or prosumer #3Dprinter. Contact the DesignBox3D team with any questions or to get help in selecting the best #3Dprinter for your needs.
In writing this blog post I have relied on information from the 2013 Wohlers Report and an article appearing on 3DPrintingIndustry.com in 2013.