Worldwide shipments of sub-$100,000 3D printers will grow 49 percent in 2013 to reach a total of 56,507 units, according to Gartner, Inc.'s latest report "Forecast: 3D Printers, Worldwide, 2013."
Gartner says that shipments will increase further in 2014, growing 75 percent to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.
"The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point," said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. "While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results."
"As the products rapidly mature, organizations will increasingly exploit 3D printing's potential in their laboratory, product development and manufacturing operations," continued Mr. Basiliere. "In the next 18 months, we foresee consumers moving from being curious about the technology to finding reasons to justify purchases as price points, applications and functionality become more attractive."
3D Printers market
Gartner expects combined end-user spending on 3D Printers will reach $412 million in 2013, up 43 percent from spending of $288 million in 2012. Enterprise spending will total more than $325 million in 2013, while the consumer segment will reach nearly $87 million. In 2014, spending will increase 62 percent, reaching $669 million, with enterprise spending of $536 million and consumer spending of $133 million.
The industrial applications of 3D printing
Current uses of 3D technology focus on one-off or small-run models for product design and industrial prototyping, jigs and fixtures used in manufacturing processes and mass customization of finished goods, notes Gartner. As advances in 3D printers, scanners, design tools and materials reduce the cost and complexity of creating 3D printed items, the applications of 3D print technology will continue to expand to include areas such as architecture, defense, medical products and jewelry design.
Gartner predicts that 3D printing will have a high impact on industries, including consumer products, industrial and manufacturing; a medium impact on construction, education, energy, government, medical products, military, retail, telecommunications, transportation and utilities; and a low impact on banking and financial services and insurance.
"The hype around consumer 3D printing has made enterprises aware that the price point and functionality of 3DP has changed significantly over the last five years, driving increased shipments beginning in 2014," said Mr. Basiliere. "Most businesses are only now beginning to fully comprehend all of the ways in which a 3DP can be cost-effectively used in their organizations, from prototyping and product development to fixtures and molds that are used to manufacture or assemble an item to drive finished goods. Now that many people in the organization, not only the engineering and manufacturing department managers but also senior corporate management, marketing management and others, have heard the hype, they want to know when the business will have a 3D printer."
3D printer prices will decrease
Gartner expects 3D printer prices will be driven down during the next several years due to competitive pressures and higher shipment volumes, even after allowing for providers who will be offering devices with higher performance, functionality and quality that enable them to hold the line on pricing.
Multinational retailers to sell 3D printers
Gartner expects that by 2015, seven of the 50 largest multinational retailers will sell 3D printers through their physical and online stores.
"Major multinational physical and online retailers have the means to market the technology to consumers and enterprise buyers, generating demand for the devices and revenue by selling printers and supplies, as well as from sales of individual 3D-printed pieces," said Mr. Basiliere. "Office superstore Staples is already in the market, and other superstores and consumer goods retailers, such as Yamada Denki, are prime candidates to sell printers and finished 3D printed items. Their presence in the market will have an impact on average selling prices, forcing providers into low-margin sales of consumer 3DP by 2017."
Consumer 3D printing
"Simply experiencing the technology and conceiving ways to use it will mainly drive makers and hobbyists, not the average consumer, to purchase a 3D printer to begin with," said Mr. Basiliere. "However, we expect that a compelling consumer application — something that can only be created at home on a 3D printer — will hit the scene by 2016." This application, which will be the most compelling use case yet for consumer 3D printing, will arise from work done by makers and other enthusiasts who push the envelope of consumer 3D printing uses and enabled by manufacturers who develop "plug-and-play" tools.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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factcheck wrote at 10/3/2013 7:27:46 PM:
Kraftwurx was not functional until two years ago. Chris writes as much in the makezine article comments that he links here. Ponoko and Shapeways are the true innovators here. Chris just filed patents and had no implementation until November 2011 - his own site was not working in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, or 2009, or even 2010: he sat for SEVEN years before launching. Fortunately for Ponoko or Shapeways, his patents will likely fail if ever challenged in court - prior art is readily findable as his patents are so broad as to be abusive.
Chris Norman wrote at 10/3/2013 6:07:31 AM:
This excerpt... Something that can only be created at home on a 3D printer — will hit the scene by 2016." This application, which will be the most compelling use case yet for consumer 3D printing, will arise from work done by makers and other enthusiasts who push the envelope of consumer 3D printing uses and enabled by manufacturers who develop "plug-and-play" tools. Is nearly right. One of the most significant plays to commercialize 3D Printing is Digital Factory from Kraftwurx. We recognized nearly a decade ago that 3D Printing needed tools developed to.commercialize it. That's how Digital Factory was born...out of necessity. I looked for a way to create online customization with 3D printing in a browser in vane in 2004. I hired consultants, signed nda's talked with software and video game developers. Nothing was available! So we.built it! From.2004 to 2007 I coded and tried to raise capital. I handed out hundreds of business plans. They even contained the now.highly.quoted shipped to you in "ten days or less" quote mentioned by someone repeatedly in early pitches that we won't name but we all know who they are... apparently my 500 business plans circulated all the way to Europe! I pitched Austin Ventures, the Rice Alliance, the Austin Technology Incubator, the Texas Emerging technology Fund, G51 Capital and many more. I even write a department of defense proposal under the SBIR program and confidential claim submitted in 2005! The one thing I did that I am glad was to take the advice of Don Jarrell in Austin from Digital Thinking. I filed patent protection before disclosing anything. In 2006 I flew to Chicago to attend Rapid and met Terry Wohlers, Todd Grimm and many others...I even disclosed what I had patented but many still did not get it. The purpose of Digital Factory was and is a commercially available product to enable 3D printing web stores, something everyone seems to think was and Is so obvious but I ask anyone to show me a working site in.2004, 2005 or 2006 or even 2007 that sold 3D printing retail merchandise. I know of only one... http://makezine.com/2007/08/02/3d-mass-customization/ The good news...the US patent system is designed to protect ideas that belong to people who invent them. Anyone wanting to learn more about the history and future of Digital Factory, visit www.kraftwurx.com