You know 3D printing has hit the mainstream in every way possible when your grandmother is cutting out newspaper articles and mailing them to you for DIY ideas. You know the technology is popular when your newlywed friends are posting Facebook pictures of their 3D printed wedding cake figurine toppers. It’s obvious we are immersed as fashion models strut down the runway in avante garde smart clothing bordering on the next dimension into 4D, and jewelry hobbyists, once cloistered away in their bedrooms stringing beads, are suddenly becoming known worldwide for their 3D printed fabrications.
This has all happened not only due to the progress in technology we know as 3D printing, but in many cases today, we have the desktop 3D printer to thank.
So, it should come as no surprise to find that one of the top industry analysis firms is about to release figures that show a stunning surge in shipments of 3D desktop printers for the first quarter of this year. CONTEXT, headquartered in London and with offices in 15 countries, is teasing us so far with an economical tidbit stating that global shipments of 3D printers under $5000 rose by 24% for this year’s first quarter. Making it sound far more exciting than with even that initial statistic, the CONTEXT team points out that this means a 114% year-on-year increase.
As we’ve kept an eye on quarterly trends here as well (ahem!), it’s also not a surprise to hear that these shipments are arriving on North American doorsteps to the tune of accounting for 63% of all desktop 3D printing shipments. West Europeans are ordering only 20% of these machines, and it’s curious to see what’s going to happen with the market when they catch up with the trend as innovation continues to flourish and the need for prototyping in the home or workshop becomes even more of a need for designers and entrepreneurs.
“The nascent area of desktop 3D printing continues its upward momentum and continues to see entrants across a wide spectrum of industries, with offerings from legacy additive manufacturing stalwarts, to industry start-ups, to mature IT, Manufacturing and Tool companies all entering the space” says Chris Connery, VP of Global Analysis and Research at CONTEXT. “As many of these companies begin to outgrow their stat-up efforts, expanding their distribution networks around the globe is a necessary next step toward expanding market presence.”
- XYZPrinting (Da Vinci)
- 3D Systems (Cube/Cubify)
- M3D (Micro)
- Stratasys (MakerBot)
While it’s always nice to be in the top five, that does not mean everything was coming up roses for MakerBot, which in the face of corporate shakeups and layoff drama this year also came out showing signs of struggling financially. Both Stratasys and 3D Systems posted dismal financial results for the first quarter. 3D Systems had a slight boost, helping them to attain a year-on-year increase, but Stratasys saw an overall disappointment in sales and shipments.
The full report is soon to be released by IT market analyst firm CONTEXT. Specialists in tracking channel sales across EMEA, they are the official partners of all members of the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC). Their data is used for assessing and strategizing in business, as well as being the catalyst for what are sometimes critical decisions backed up in execution by data.
Discuss your thoughts on these latest statistics in the Desktop 3D Printer Shipments forum thread over at 3DPB.com.