Despite 10 precent quarterly growth in Q1 of this year, the 3D printing market stalled at less than one percent to Q2, according to Additive Manufacturing Research (AMR). The market research firm, formerly known as SmarTech Analysis, attributes the slowdown to economic challenges impacting hardware investments. In turn, the additive manufacturing (AM) sector—including hardware, materials, software and services—reached $3.52 billion compared to $3.5 billion the previous quarter.
AMR now projects the industry to reach $46 billion by 2030. This compares to its preceding estimate that the 3D printing sector would hit $25 billion by 2025. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) would then shift from 22.48 percent to a little over half that at 12.87 percent for the second half of the decade, with the total CAGR averaging to 13.98 percent from 2022 to 2030.
Such a pattern does not seem unreasonable given the current trajectory of the market. Right now, global activities suggest that we are entering the fastest growing period for 3D printing yet, as national governments and corporations invest into the technology like never before both as a means of executing supply chain insurance and achieving sustainable, local production. Based on 3DPrint.com’s research, the Chinese AM market was pushing 30 percent growth in the past three years and the U.S. is likely aiming to match or beat that rate. AMR points out that government support for developmental initiatives and sizable contractual deals will contribute to greater adoption in the commercial sector, providing downstream advantages.
The current industry estimates from AMR were calculated as the company released its latest “Core Metals” and “Core Polymers” market data products, which include nearly a decade of historical quarterly data and provide 10-year forward forecasts. Quarterly reports on the metal and polymer AM markets are available as a one-time or subscription purchase via AMR’s website and are customizable as needed.
Other information detailed by the company includes the fact that metal AM markets remained relatively strong in Q2, despite the fact that hardware investment across the industry was impacted by high interest rates for equipment financing. 3D printing services were mixed overall, dropping slightly from Q1, with the dental sector in particular underperforming. Year over year, however, the total AM sector is up compared to the previous year, with the total metal 3D printing segment up over 16 percent and polymer up 13 percent compared to the same period in 2022.
AMR further comments on the current state of mergers and acquisitions in the market. We’ve already seen Nikon make numerous important moves, including the purchase of SLM Solutions. More recently, Align Technology bought materials firm Cubicure and Stratasys seems to be on track to combine with Desktop Metal. According to AMR, major mergers among key players in the market could lead to some short-term disruption and may initially hamper growth. However, these consolidations are expected to result in organizations with the financial clout and specialized knowledge needed to change the value dynamics in additive manufacturing, thereby speeding up its expansion.
AMR also indicated that market for metal powder is surging, positioning it as one of the most promising opportunities in the industry. As hardware companies compete intensely to innovate and secure market share, a growing and increasingly sophisticated customer base is fueling a solid, ongoing demand for metal powder. It’s projected that by the close of 2023, the use of additive metal powder will have more than doubled compared to levels seen before the pandemic.
Scott Dunham, AMR EVP Research, commented, “The trends we saw in the first quarter of 2023 mostly continued and strengthened slightly to round out the first half of 2023, with hot spots and cold spots in the market. The most consistent trend, however, was the impact of interest rates on the ability of companies to invest in AM machines, which many have reported has altered the sales cycles of these large capital investments. However, utilization of existing AM equipment appears to continue to grow, creating highly valuable markets for materials. Print services are more affected by supply chain fluctuations.”
As it continues to track and analyze major trends in the 3D printing industry, SmarTech Analysis has undergone a name change to “Additive Manufacturing Research,” or AMR, to more accurately represent its specialized focus on additive manufacturing. For nearly 10 years, AMR has been monitoring 3D printing and additive manufacturing market trends every quarter. The data amassed by the organization stands as the most extensive and longest-standing quarterly industry analysis globally.
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