Global market for 3D printing is projected to reach US$4.5 billion by 2018, driven by the development of innovative printing techniques, expanding application areas and declining cost of systems and consumables, according to the new comprehensive global report “3D Printing: A Global Strategic Business Report” by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA).
Market outlook in the 3D printing market is bullish with technology advances expected to drive market growth, the report comments. In addition, expanding application areas and funding support from government agencies are also expected to spur demand for related systems and services. Rising use of 3D models, ability to create customized products and declining cost of 3D printing systems and materials are encouraging the adoption of 3D printing as a replacement for conventional prototyping and manufacturing processes in consumer and professional markets.
GIA forecasts that in the short-term, 3D printing is expected to be primarily used for rapid prototyping, and for direct manufacture of extremely complex and highly customized low-volume products. It is unlikely to have big impact on the traditional manufacturing sector in the near future. However, the balance is likely to tilt in favor of 3D printing technology.
One of the most promising applications of 3D printing is in the field of healthcare, where 3D printers are being used to manufacture products such as custom-fit hearing aids, dental and orthopedic implants, and prosthetic limbs. Other application areas include consumer products, automotive, aerospace, and machines.
As stated by the report, the U.S. represents the single largest market for 3D printing products and services with growth driven largely by the availability of low-cost printers and increased adoption among hobbyists and entrepreneurs. Besides, government support for 3D printing technologies as a means to stimulate growth in the domestic manufacturing sector. While developed regions such as the US and Europe have been at the forefront for technology development and adoption, Asia-Pacific represents the fastest growing regional market with a projected CAGR of 21.4% over the analysis period.
Furthermore, the report expects rapid growth will be encouraged by the development of easy-to-use, less bulky, and multi-use 3D printers with the ability to rapidly produce conceptual models and prototypes. Availability of low-cost open source manufacturing kits is also driving hobbyists and individuals to adopt 3D printing technology.
Major players profiled in the report include 3D Systems Corporation, Bits from Bytes, Arcam AB, envisionTEC GmbH, EOS GmbH, MakerBot Industries LLC, Stratasys Ltd., and Solidscape Inc.