Jul 29, 2016 | By Alec

Who says that 3D printing is mostly a western affair? The technology is also a huge hit in East Asia, where new startups are popping up everywhere and large corporations are steadily adopting 3D printing opportunities. In fact, in Japan alone the 3D printing market grew with 4.4 percent over 2015, with total sales reaching 34.5 billion yen – or approximately $330 million USD. This has become apparent from the latest study by the Japanese branch of The International Data Corporation (IDC). What’s more, the IDC believes that the Japanese 3D printing market will double in value by 2020 – reaching 70.2 billion yen ($670 million USD).

The International Data Corporation (IDC), of course, is the world’s leading provider of market intelligence, advisory services and data for a number of fields, including information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. With a presence in more than 100 countries throughout the world, they typically know what they’re talking about. For this particular study, they looked at the Japanese 3D printing market’s performance from 2013 to 2015, and shared their expectations about the years to come.

The 3D printing market itself obviously covers all aspects that are related to 3D printing, including the material market, 3D printing and modeling services and hardware maintenance services. And it is clear that this market is doing very well. The market value grew by 4.4 percent when compared to 2014. According to the IDC, the CAGR (the Compound Annual Growth Rate) from 2015 to 2020 is expected to reach 15.3 percent, which accounts for the market doubling in size over those years.

But 3D printer sales did not contribute much to 2015’s successes. In fact, only 6,300 desktop 3D printers were shipped (19.3 percent less than in 2014), while the total sales value for 2015 was 40.9 percent lower than in the previous year at 925 million yen. Why? Well, the IDC believes that the technology’s limitations became apparent after an initial craze in 2014, leading to a drop in sales. What’s more, that level of disappointment is likely to persist over 2016 and the years that follow; perhaps as little as 3,700 units will be shipped in Japan in 2020 (a CAGR of minus 10.2 percent).

The Enomoto 3D5X 3D printer, Japan’s first 5-axis hybrid 3D printer.

What’s more, this problem doesn’t just affect the desktop market (defined as 3D printers costing less than 500,000 yen, or less than $4800 USD). For professional-grade 3D printer sales saw a growth rate of minus 23.5 percent, with the sales revenue decreasing to 13.186 billion yen (minus 31.8 percent). But in part, this is also due to the fact that most early adopters won’t upgrade their professional 3D printers so quickly after the 2014 boom. This is expected to change over the coming years, with the CAGR of the professional market sales expecting to grow by 8 percent by 2020.

So where is all that market growth coming from then? Largely from the material sales and services revenues. That first market has grown with 77.3 percent when compared to 2014, with sales reaching 8.542 billion yen. The service market’s revenue reached 11.833 billion yen (62.1% growth rate compared to 2014). In those markets, 3D printing has thus grown significantly, largely thanks to the introduction of numerous 3D printers in 2014. Moreover, more companies are also consuming larger amounts of materials.

Those markets will thus also be pushing 3D printing growth in the coming years, as early figures for 2016 already showed. The services market is expected to grow to 20.202 billion yen by 2020 (with a CAGR of 11.3 percent over 2015-2020), with the material market expected to be worth even more by 2020: 29.969 billion yen (28.5 percent growth). While professional 3D printers will certainly make a significant contribution to the overall market worth (total 3D printer sales value expected to reach 23.200 billion yen in 2020), 3D printing services and materials play a very significant role as well.

But this report is remarkable for one other reason, as the IDC also conducted a survey on 3D printing applications. As a result, it has become clear that use of professional 3D printers is strongly growing in the medical and dental fields – for artificial bones and teeth, for instance. But over the coming years, the IDC says, similar growth can be expected in other industries and 3D printing could significantly change the domestic industrial structures. “Along with IoT, robotics and similar breakthroughs, the IDC believes that 3D printing can play an important role in transforming large industries and IT markets in the near future,” said 3D printing market analyst Atsushi Kikuchi.

As a result, the IDC suggests that companies reevaluate the possibilities offered by 3D printing. In particular, they should think about how the technology can affect their manufacturing processes and business models, and how they can apply it themselves. One thing seems clear: the IDC believes that 3D printing is heading towards a bright future in Japan.



Posted in 3D Printer



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afdkjlasd wrote at 7/29/2016 7:23:33 PM:

as always, there is a market for 3D printing, but not 3d printers

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