We have all been hearing the numbers being thrown out their by various research firms, about how fast the 3D printing space will heat up over the next 5-10 years. I personally take each prediction with a grain of salt, simply because there are still all sorts of unknowns which may sneak up on us over time. If you go back a couple of years and look at some of the predictions provided by several research firms, you would notice that nearly all of the estimates have turned out to be underestimates. The 3D printing market has grown faster than even the most optimistic analysts had expected. The main cause of these miscalculations is likely the fact that the market analysis performed back in 2011 and 2012 did not foresee how quickly prices would drop, due to an overwhelming amount of competition within the market.
Having said this, it’s still interesting to read over analysis of the future market, whenever a new report comes out. Last week, a report from business research firm IDTechEx was released. The report estimated that the 3D Printing market will be worth approximately $7 billion by 2025. Out of this $7 billion, at least $3 billion will be attributed to biopinting. The report, in general, is pessimistic regarding the consumer segment of the market, noting that:
“The hype around consumer printers is dying out but will soon be replaced with hype around 3D printed critical components in commercial airliners, fully-printed rocket engines, 3D printing in schools and universities, animal-rights-friendly bioprinted human tissues for drug toxicity and cosmetics testing and, ultimately, 3D printed electrics and electronics starting with the replacement of wiring with functional 3D printed enclosures containing embedded conductive pathways.”
The first part of the above statement would likely be argued by many of the consumer level 3D printer manufacturers on the market today; especially Makerbot, who has been reporting very solid sales growth numbers for several quarters now. Makerbot isn’t alone however. An almost fanatical interest in cheap, sub-$400 3D printers is slowly bringing the technology into the mainstream. The number of 3D printers, within homes around the globe, will likely more than triple this year, over last. The Micro 3D printer, Kickstarted by a company called M3D, pre-sold over 11,000 printers over the last two months alone. It can be argued, that 2014 has seen a drastic increase in ‘hype’ around the consumer side of the market.
I don’t think many people would argue the point that IDTechEx has brought up, regarding the importance of the bioprinting segment of the market over the next 10-11 years. A total market value of $3 billion for the segment, seems very feasible, and in fact will likely prove much too low, as more and more healthcare professionals invest in the technology, and hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into research around bioprinting over the next few years.
As for the total value of the market being $7 billion by 2025? Considering that the market is currently valued at approximately $3 billion, to only call for it to double within 10-11 years, will likely prove to be yet another major underestimation. Personally I could see a global market valued near $7 billion within 3-4 years. What do you guys think? How valuable will the 3D printing market be by 2025, and what percentage of market share will be attributed to the bioprinting segment? Let’s hear your thoughts at the 3DPB.com forum thread pertaining to the future size of the 3D printing market.[Source: Idtechex.com]