While high priced industrial grade 3D printers remain the largest, and fastest growing, sector of the 3D printing market, the low-cost desktop market is expected to rapidly expand in the next five years. Despite the recent market problems of Stratasys and 3D Systems, the 3D printing industry’s two largest companies, the desktop printer market continues to flourish. As 3D printing becomes more common in larger industries, smaller companies are looking to explore the technology without committing to high-priced 3D printer options and long-term maintenance and supply contracts. Instead these companies are turning to lower-priced desktop 3D printers that offer a similar level of technology for a significantly smaller price tag.
Global online market research database Research and Markets has just added a new report to their extensive inventory. The “Opportunities in Low-Cost 3D Printers: Technologies, Materials and Markets – 2016” report exclusively examines the low-cost 3D printing market, including related technology and materials. The report includes ten-year predictions for the low-cost printer hardware market, the 3D printing materials market and the market share of the top 3D printer manufacturers in the industry. It also offers predictive perspectives on how the low-cost 3D printer market is expected to grow, and who will primarily benefit from it.
According to the report’s authors, SmarTech Markets Publishing, the revenues generated by the low-cost 3D printer sector are expected to grow to over $4 billion by the year 2021. 3D printer hardware sales are predicted to account for $2.3 billion of the market, while the materials market should fill in the rremaining $1.7 billion. The 3D printer manufacturers that are expected to remain at the top of the market include MakerBot, the desktop 3D printing arm of Stratasys, which despite their recent financial troubles probably won’t be leaving the low-cost, desktop 3D printer market like 3D Systems did when they phased out the Cube ecosystem.
The SmarTech Report also showed that despite an uneven marketplace this year, 2015 had a large jump in actual global 3D printer sales. Last year more than 270,000 desktop 3D printers were sold all over the world, a huge jump from the 190,000 3D printers that were sold in 2014. A primary reason for this jump in sales is due to businesses and companies purchasing low-cost desktop 3D printers for use in rapid prototyping and design applications. SmarTech expects that the two fastest-growing types of businesses purchasing 3D printers will continue to be product design firms and architects. Currently the largest segment of the low-cost 3D printer market are RepRap kits, followed closely by Ultimaker and XYZprinting.
Currently, the low-cost 3D printed materials market will continue to be dominated by the thermoplastic filament market, and it is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2021. Additionally, SmarTech predicts that the next few years will see a growing number of partnerships form between specialty material developers and larger plastic raw materials manufacturers. It is expected that they will be driven by growing need to create specialty and advanced thermoplastic filaments for a wider number of 3D printing options. The report is predicting that the low-cost 3D printing materials market will continue to expand by 3.6 percent year over year. Discuss further in the 3D Printers Market forum over at 3DPB.com.