May.29, 2013

Researchers at the global research firm McKinsey, led by James Manyika, has released a new, wide-ranging report that identifies 12 economically disruptive technologies that could deliver significant economic impacts to the global economy, between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025.

The authors write that "some of this economic potential will end up as consumer surplus; a substantial portion of this economic potential will translate into new revenue that companies will capture and that will contribute to GDP growth. Other effects could include shifts in profit pools between companies and industries."

Here's the list the McKinsey researchers came up with, along with their estimates of how much economic potential they hold. The 12 disruptive technologies include: mobile Internet, automation of knowledge and work, Internet of things, cloud technology, advanced robotics, autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles, next-generation genomics, energy storage, 3D printing, advanced materials, advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery, renewable energy.

3D printing could help democratize the design, production, and distribution of products and services and it could change patterns of consumption, creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, create new products and services, drive economic growth or productivity, explains the researchers.

MGI estimate that 3D printing could generate economic impact of $230 billon to $550 per year by 2025, based on reduced cost and the value of customization. The largest source of potential impact would be from consumer uses, followed by direct manufacturing and the use of 3D printing to create tools and molds.

Consumer uses

MGI believes 3D printing could have impact on consumer products with high customization value including toys, accessories, jewelry, footwear, ceramics and simple apparel. MGI estimates global sales of these products could grow to $4 trillion a year by 2025 and it is possible most of the consumers of these products could have access to 3D printing by 2025 and consumers might 3D print 5~10% of these products by 2025. "A potential 35~60% cost saving is possible for consumers self-printing these goods", says MGI.

Direct manufacturing

According to MGI, in 2025 traditional manufacturing techniques will still have a large cost advantage over additive manufacturing for high-volume products. Same as now, 3D printing will be used for making highly complex, low-volume and highly customizable parts. MGI estimates that 3D printing could generate $100 billion to $400 billion in economic impact per year by 2025 from direct manufacturing of parts. 30~50% of total complex, low-volume and highly customizable parts could be 3D printed.

Tool and mold manufacturing

The large majority of parts and products will still be produced with injection molding, but 3D printed molds can significantly reduce cycle times and improve part quality. MGI estimates that 3D printing of tools and molds could generate $30 billion to $50 billion in economic impact per year by 2015.

And here is chart showing how these technologies will affect society, businesses and economies:

The full report of "Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy" can be downloaded here.


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