Sep 29, 2015 | By Alec

Few people will be surprised to learn that the 3D printing market is healthy and expanding, as sales are going up, hubs are expanding and the only community is growing. The fast number of startups popping up all over the world also suggests that 3D printing is going places. However, even the most optimistic amongst us would hardly dream to go as far as a new prediction made by Gartner, which has said that the worldwide shipment of 3D printers will reach 496,000 in 2016.

Gartner, Inc., as you might know, is the one of the world’s leading sources for technology research and a very prominent advisory company when it comes to measuring growth and success in the technology industry. Based in Connecticut in the US, they are a fantastic source of information and news when it comes to numbers.

And with this latest prediction, they are very positive about where the 3D printing market is heading. For this prediction of 496,475 (to be precise) worldwide shipments of 3D printers is roughly double that of what they are expecting to ship this year – 244,533 3D printers worldwide. What’s more, Gartner expects that number to continue to approximately double over the coming years, with numbers expecting to reach 5.6 million by 2019 – a truly remarkable number of 3D printers.

As Pete Basiliere, Gartner’s Research Vice President, explains, that remarkable growth is the result of a rapid increase in quality and performance of 3D printers, while prices are continually dropping. ‘Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3D printer technologies are driving both enterprise and consumer demand, with unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers increasing significantly,’ he says. ‘The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to broad-based, global market of enterprises and consumers.’

This growth is most strongly reflected in FDM 3D printers, as can be expected. 3D printers relying on material extrusion easily lead the shipment numbers, with 232,336 units in 2015, which can grow up to 5,527,493 in 2019 (or approximately 97,5 percent of all 3D printers). As accessible and low cost machines, that is hardly surprising. The rest of the numbers are divided among the remaining six commercial 3D printing technologies, which are obviously subjected to totally different market dynamics and customer bases.

Furthermore, most of the growth can be found in the price braces of ‘up to $1000’ and ‘between $1000 and $2500’, in which virtually all 3D printers are of the FDM kind. The cheapest category is currently making up 25.5 percent of all 3D printers costing $2500 or less, but that is expected to grow to grow up to 40.7 percent by 2019. This obviously suggests that private consumers can be seen as a major client base, but Gartner argues that many of these low cost machines are actually going to schools and universities.

Regardless of the customer base, this study definitely suggests that the golden years of 3D printing are still on its way.



Posted in 3D Printers





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