The 3D printer market has now emerged from garages and is quickly becoming an industry to watch. Newer 3D printing technologies have now been used to create every thing from houses to dresses. As the market for 3D-printed goods begins to grow and evolve, the money being invested into the industry will soon begin to grow at an impressive rate.
Market research firm Canalys today released a report predicting that revenues taken in by the 3D printing market will rise to $16.2 billion by the year 2018. This is a significant rise from the estimated $2.5 billion the industry is estimated to have taken in during 2013 as well as the predicted $3.8 billion the industry is predicted to earn this year - an annual growth rate of over 45% for the overall segment.
Right now print-to-order services by 3D printing companies represent a large portion of the 3D printing market. Canalys expects this to remain the status-quo in the coming years as more 3D printing companies pop up, offering clients large and small the low-cost custom building that 3D printers can offer. This reality will also benefit customers who need custom products produced locally, lowering the wastes and distribution costs associated with traditional long-distance manufacturing orders.
The market for 3D printers themselves is expected to grow to $5.4 billion by the year 2018, up from the estimated $1.3 billion to be spend on the devices this year. The services and materials market surrounding 3D printers is expected to grow even larger, up to $10.8 billion in 2018 from the $2.5 billion Canalys estimates the segment will take in during 2014.
“We are at the inflection point for 3D printing. It has now moved from a new and much-hyped, but largely unproven, manufacturing process to a technology with the ability to produce real, innovative, complex and robust products,” said Tim Shepherd, senior analyst at Canalys. “This is a fast-evolving market, but it is still in its infancy. Expect to see new major entrants making a significant impact in the industry in the coming years, including giants such as HP. As barriers fall, new use cases emerge, the technology improves and new entrants join, this is a market that will look very different in five years’ time.”
Image via MakerBot