We have seen a lot of research analysis on the 3D printing market over the last year. Gartner has estimated that the market could grow as much as 1900% over the next five years, while others think that the consumer market will be slower to grow than the manufacturing market. Either way, 3D printing is here to stay and will likely continue its torrid growth rate. The questions is, “how much will it grow, and when will the fastest growth occur?”.
A new report has just been published by Strategy Analytics, which really dives into the extended future of the consumer side of the 3D printing industry. Unlike Gartner, which looked more at the manufacturing side of things, and only over the next 5-6 years, this report analyzes the tremendous growth expected within the consumer 3D printing industry over the next 16 years.
The report concludes that demand for 3D printers may be overestimated by many in the industry in the short term, but underestimated in the long term. Up until 2020, growth may not be as steep as many expect. However after 2020, there is a good possibility that we will see explosive growth. Strategy Analytics estimates that over half of all households within the US and Europe will own at least one 3D printer by the latter part of next decade. They also estimate that revenues from 3D printers and materials will approach $10 billion annually by 2024. What’s most surprising is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, according to their report. From 2024 to 2030, they expect the market will likely grow by an estimated 700% to $70 billion.
“In the long term home 3D printers offer great potential for new business models in industry and retail,” Mercer comments. “But 3D printing technology vendors and service providers must recognize and overcome the specific barriers to consumer market adoption as they develop products designed for the mass market.”
The next several years will be critical for the technology as there are still several obstacles to overcome. The two main obstacles are copyright issues that are bound to pop up, as well as the user’s experience while operating a printer. As printers become more accurate, faster, and more reliable, intellectual property rights could tarnish the industry, and hamper some progress. User experience will also be key, which Strategy Analytics feels will improve over time.
“In spite of widespread publicity around 3D printing over the past year or so, 3D printers designed for home use are only at the beginning of their long journey towards widespread consumer adoption,” says David Mercer, Principal Analyst and the report’s author. “The industry must overcome a number of barriers if the long-term potential of 3D printing as a consumer market is to be realized.”
The full report is available for purchase here.
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