CGTrader Presents Marketplace Tips and Ideas (InfoGraph) for Ambitious 3D Designers

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logo2Take heed, 3D designers — competition in your marketplace is heating up! CGTrader wants to light a fire in you for developing the best strategy in selling your 3D designs. They have some great information if you are weighing out the pros and cons of starting a business or maybe thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign on a site like Kickstarter.

If you’ve got the skill, there’s nothing more empowering than using that talent and that passion to also help pay the bills. Some thought and strategy need to go into your plan, however. What you think will be a big seller might not be exactly as popular with the masses, so it’s good to look at some numbers. Also, it’s crucial to get insight from those who have experience. While you may come to the marketplace educated, skilled, and locked and loaded with a great product, some mentoring is always a great foundation for growth.

CGTrader took a look at what is selling best. What do the people want? What are they buying? The top three items, based on an index number of 100 as the average, came in with very high numbers:

Rating of 205 – Hobby based and DIY items – with robotics as an example. Makers are a creative bunch and they want to to be challenged hands-on, with some wow factor thrown in as a reward at the end for their efforts. Electronics and robotics are a great example, with a wide variety of itemsRobot Parrot by Brian Matthews that can be created, especially when combined with Arduino software.

We have covered myriad different robotics projects, but one of the most fun and mindblowing is the robotic parrot by Brian Matthews. There’s one that would make you do a double take.

Including everything from desktop video arcades to virtual reality aircraft and racing cars and tracks, we’ve seen quite the gamut of fun things to create, and I can understand why that category rated highest.

Rating of 152 – Fashion – and needless to say, this is a biggie. From belt buckles to dresses to shoes, we’ve covered the gamut on this as well. 3D design and fashion most certainly go hand and hand, with one of our last, most interesting fashion articles featuring shoe designer (and electrical engineer) Michaella Janse van Vuuren of South Africa. Click here for the full article.


Rating of 146 –  Art – This category came in third, still with a very high rating, and obviously this is an arena where 3D designers are going to excel. 3D design in art has a vast range of possibilities just as the field itself does.


One of the most interesting artists I wrote about recently was German artist Moto Waganari who employs 3D design and 3D printing in a most unusual way. Click here to read the article and check out more of his sculptures.

Coming in still high on the spectrum but at a lesser rate of popularity were designs such as miniatures (99), gadgets (86), home (79), jewelry (66), science (33), and games and toys (33).

The most interesting facts come from CGTrader when you examine pricing. While hobby and DIY items are highest on the list of 3D models that sell best, they are also listed as slightly underpriced. Most underpriced, though, are gadgets, so if your interest in 3D design and production lies there, there’s room to move on price — and that’s a win-win, considering gadgets still scored a 99 on the spectrum. Surprisingly, jewelry came in underpriced as well.

Areas where you may want to exercise caution in selling — as well as buying — are home items and art. Following that, miniatures and science items then took pricing off the charts, and not in a good way. Those seemingly overpriced markets are definitely an area in which to tread carefully with your business plans and prices.

While any business requires large doses of enthusiasm, care, and acumen, it also requires some time to work out the kinks and see what works best for you after listening to your client base and figuring out what the competition is doing right and wrong. CGTrader recommends that you dive in pretty seriously, offering at least 50 models with price points ranging from $10 (basic items) to $30-$40 if you are offering 3D printed models at a higher level of sophistication.

Because discerning shoppers have no choice but to be extremely visual, offering images of your items for sale is crucial. CGTrader points out that with fewer than five photographs, you might lose out on a lot of business. They project that you can multiply your sales by three times with 10-14 images.

Did you find this information to be eye-opening? Join the discussion with us in the CGTrader 3D Design Game Plan forum at Check out the infograph provided below.

Lithuania-based CGTrader was founded in 2011 by 3D designer Marius Kalytis. CGTrader is a community-based 3D design and 3D printing marketplace. You can join their ‘designer-friendly’ marketplace to buy, sell, and share designs and 3D printed models.


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