3D Printing Market Hits $14.7B Amid Challenges in 2023

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Last year was one of dire moping for the 3D printing market, as the effects from the broader macroeconomic climate affected the public and private markets. Despite the doom and gloom, the additive manufacturing (AM) sector continued to grow, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, according to the year’s annual market findings recently unveiled by Additive Manufacturing Research (AM Research). The leading authority in AM market data analysis has reported a year-over-year growth of 13.5%, reaching a market valuation of $14.7 billion.

The journey through 2023 was not devoid of its hurdles. The final quarter underscored a series of challenges that shadowed the AM sector, mirroring the broader economic environment’s ups and downs. Despite these obstacles, the market for 3D printing hardware, materials, software, and services demonstrated notable resilience.

Careful qualification of materials and processes enables the serial production of 3D printed parts, such as for the door stopper, the first 3D printed metal part within an Alstom train produced via the 3D printing platform of Replique.

A deep dive into the report reveals a nuanced growth pattern across different segments of the AM market. The metals segment, in particular, showcased robust growth, outperforming polymers with a nearly 15% increase. This growth is reflective of the expanding application spectrum and increasing acceptance of metal 3D printing across various industries. On the other hand, polymers recorded a growth rate of just over 10%, underscoring a continued interest and development in polymer-based additive manufacturing applications.

The services segment, constituting a substantial portion of the AM market at $6.7 billion, grew in tandem with the overall industry rate. This aligns with the increasing demand for 3D printing services, highlighting the sector’s evolving maturity and the expanding adoption of AM solutions across various industries.

2023 also marked a significant milestone for AM Research with the debut of its quarterly “3DP/AM Market Insights” product. This new offering aims to enrich the traditional market data analysis with detailed written insights, proprietary charts, and data tables, providing stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the market dynamics at play.

Scott Dunham, executive vice president of research at AM Research, commented, “An abnormal, up-and-down year for the AM market ended about the same as it began – with shifting trends in system purchasing making a lot of headlines and depressing revenue growth. Still there exists a real appetite for AM technology that is likely to break loose in the near term, driven by a combination of government spending and maturity in key markets. We expect a return to normal historical growth levels this year. Longer term, AM is still the technology to watch for manufacturing evolution.”

The analysis highlighted the evolving landscape of powder bed fusion (PBF) technology, the strategic positioning of HP in the metal binder jetting market, and the promising outlook for polymer AM material sales. The report also sheds light on significant trends and shifts within the industry. Notably, the military and government sectors are poised to become pivotal market drivers in the near term, a development catalyzed by increased momentum in Q4 2023.

This seems obvious to anyone with a close eye on the industry, as the Biden-Harris administration has announced nearly countless programs to boost advanced manufacturing in the U.S., which has been mirrored by programs abroad. It is also evidenced by the nearly $300 million in direct spending the U.S. Department of Defense put into AM last year, according to AMR.

So, while 2023 seemed mired by macroeconomic difficult, we can see that national governments are stepping up to pull their weight through federal and local spending. Moreover, while last year’s 13.5% growth may not match the even more impressive 23% rate of 2022, it is nonetheless significant.

For those seeking deeper insights and detailed market analysis, AM Research’s latest reports, including the inaugural 3DP/AM Market Insights for Q4 2023, offer an invaluable resource. As the AM landscape continues to evolve, these reports serve as critical tools for stakeholders aiming to navigate the complexities of the market and harness the opportunities that lie ahead.

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