AMS Spring 2023

3D Printing Industry Worth $10.6B, Says Annual SmarTech Analysis Data

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As AMUG 2022 kicks off, SmarTech Analysis has published its annual data for the 2021 3D printing industry. Including all hardware, materials, software and 3D printing services, the market grew by 18 percent from the previous year. This brings total revenue for 2021 to an estimated $10.6 billion. Broken down by broad market segments: metal additive manufacturing (AM) grew 16 percent to $3.9 billion, polymers grew 13  percent to $5.8 billion, and software grew significantly, accounting for $900 million in revenues in 2021.

The full dataset is available through SmarTech’s data services program, either as a one-time purchase or via subscription plan. The report includes full numbers for 2021, which indicated strong single-digit growth year over year, as well as continued sequential growth from Q3 to Q4 2021.

Among the sectors to experience strong growth in 2021 was dental 3D printing. For instance, Desktop Health received FDA 510(k) clearance of Flexcera Base, a proprietary resin for use in 3D fabrication of high-quality dental prosthetics. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Clarity and context are extremely important when considering 3D printing market data.  Our top line numbers comprise additive hardware, materials, software, and outsourced services only. These totals do not include ancillary equipment which is utilized in AM production, or service contract revenue from machines sold,” said Scott Dunham, SmarTech Analysis EVP Research. “Even without these peripheral markets, the 3D printing industry’s core market data supports a very consistent historical upward trend.  A slight COVID-related downtick in 2020 has given way to increased adoption due to technological improvements and increasing economies of scale. Perceived value of AM technologies has ramped up with consideration towards risks to globalization posed by the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.  This is all reflected in our data and forecasts.”

SmarTech suggested that one of the major drivers for growth was standardization of AM at the industrial level. This included dozens of standards development projects, such as crucial standards publications like the ASTM International F3529 standard for material extrusion. The market analysis firm highlighted other trends for the year, such as updates to metal powder bed fusion. Advances to this technology, many announced at Formnext and to hit the market in 2022, will “reenergize the competitive landscape.”

SmarTech also pointed two specific end user markets as indicating important developments: dental and consumer goods. AM’s most mature market segment, the dental industry was significantly impacted negatively during the height of the pandemic. Yet, SmarTech notes that, during 2021, key players within this sector experienced “outstanding growth.” We also saw numerous projects throughout the year dedicated to metal and polymer 3D printing for sporting goods, cycling, appliances, and electronics. This, the market research firm suggests, will result in compounded growth for AM overall for the year to come.

Consumer goods also saw greater use of 3D printing in 2021, as evidenced by a partnership between sporting goods manufacturer Rawlings with Carbon and Fast Radius. Image courtesy of Carbon.

SmarTech’s “Core Metals” and “Core Polymers” market data feature four years of historical quarterly data, as well as 10-year forward forecasts. They are available in quarterly reports as one-time purchases or subscriptions. They are customizable as needed and available at the SmarTech website here.

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