According to Lux Research, the world’s 3D printingmarket will quadruple by the year 2025, turning it into a $12B industry.
In their newly published report, “How 3D Printing Adds Up: Emerging Materials, Processes, Applications, and Business Models”, the Boston-based research firm states that 3D printer sales alone will add up to $3.2B in 2025. Backing that figure will be another $2B in value produced by materials, however, the industry will see the greatest value, $7B, from parts produced by service bureaus.
After interviewing almost 100 companies involved in additive manufacturing and devising their own model of the industry, Lux uncovered these three findings:
Materials Could Be an Impediment to Growth:
“Much like conventional ‘2D’ printer makers, 3D printer companies often sell formulated materials at a steep mark-up 10 times to 100 times. This approach was tolerable when companies only used 3D printers for prototyping, but it remains a major impediment to the use of 3DP for production parts, as leaders such as 3D Systems, Stratasys, and EOS restrict third-party materials suppliers from entering the market.”
Four Companies Dominate the Market:
“On the Lux Innovation Grid, only four printer companies placed in the "Dominant" category, based on technical and business scores. They are: 3D Systems, Stratasys, EOS and Arcam. The four hold a combined 31% printer market share. Of these, Arcam is distinguished by its open materials supply model. Among independent materials suppliers, a clutch of companies Raymor Industries, Made Solid and Ceralink among them offers ‘high potential,’ but none is dominant.”
Patent Expiration Will Trigger Growth:
“In 2006, expiration of several early patent families enabled the emergence of lower-cost desktop printers from companies like Makerbot, as well as consumer-facing 3DP services like Shapeways, raising popular interest in the technology. An even bigger shift is coming as patents on other key 3D printing technologies start to expire over the next three years, lowering costs for those methods and widening the range of capabilities available to users.”
While Lux Research’s study has pegged the value of the 3D printing market higher than earlier estimates, the one thing that remains constant among all studies is that the industry as whole has a bright future.