FRAMINGHAM, MA – 3D printer shipments in the US grew almost 20% in 2015 year-over-year, as businesses adopted en masse what was previously a hobbyist tool. Moreover, total 3D printer shipments in the US are expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 16% through 2020, says International Data Corp.
"People and companies that are adopting 3D printers are routinely realizing tremendous time and cost savings in their product creation and development cycles,” said Tim Greene, research director, Hardcopy Solutions. “As printer speeds increase and the range of materials expands, a growing number of products and parts, and therefore markets, will be impacted by 3D printing/additive manufacturing. Already the 3D printer mix in the US has changed over the last 12 to 24 months. While there are still a lot of shipments into the DIY/consumer market, tremendous growth remains in the segments with a more professional and manufacturing orientation. Leading 3D printer manufacturers are adopting new processes throughout their operations to reposition their businesses for this change."
Shipments of 3D printers below $1,000 are projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 12% through 2020.
IDC expects strong growth (20% and more) in professional 3D printer segments, which rely on a range of technologies that provide more accurate and durable 3D prints, often at much higher rates of speed.
Shipments at the very high-end of the market, primarily based on materials jetting and sintering/melting technologies, are expected to grow at an aggressive rate over the next few years, as a growing number of companies use these systems for high volumes of professional prototypes and on-demand parts manufacturing.
FFF/FDM printers accounted for more than 75% of total shipments in 2015; by 2020 IDC expects this segment to make up less than 60% of total shipments.
3D printers based on stereolithography are expected to grow from about 11% of total shipments in the US in 2015 to over 20% by 2020.
Sintering/Melting technologies are seeing dynamic growth over the forecast period, as existing users increase their investments in these technologies at the high-end, while new market entries are lowering the cost to invest in these technologies, democratizing the ability to produce high-quality and highly durable 3D builds, says IDC.
During the forecast period, materials jetting is expected to be spurred by worldwide 3D printing market leaders 3D Systems and Stratasys, now joined by HP.
"The growth of the 3D printer hardware market is just part of the total 3D printing/additive manufacturing picture," said Greene. "Printer hardware revenue, combined with the expansion of 3D printing services and the consumption of materials, already represents a $2.5 billion market in the US in 2015, and that is expected to grow at a rate of more than 20% through 2020."