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3D printing set for global take-off


Global spending on 3D printing will grow at a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from nearly $11-billion in 2015 to $26,7-billion in 2019, according to IDC’s Semi-annual 3D Printing Spending Guide, which expands on IDC’s previous 3D printing forecasts.
“3D printing has been a mainstay in specialized discrete manufacturing markets like automotive and aerospace for many years,” says Christopher Chute, vice-president: consumer insights and analysis group at IDC. “However, in just the past three years, lower-priced 3D printers and affordable materials have dramatically widened the market for 3D printing to now enable consumer, education, healthcare and additional manufacturing markets.
“That said, 3D printing availability doesn’t translate similarly across industries. Vendors and service providers need to understand how differences in use cases, materials cost, and end customer expectation are uniquely shaping each market.”
“The technologies that enable 3D printing continue to develop and expand in nearly every direction,” adds Tim Greene, research director: hardcopy solutions at IDC. “These technologies can help deliver larger, more accurate, and more solidly built models in a fraction of the time.”
“IDC’s 3D printing research indicates that the 3D printer market is primed and ready for greater mainstream adoption. There is strong appeal for this technology across several markets, and regions,” says Keith Kmetz, programme vice-president of IDC’s imaging, printing and document solutions research.
IDC expects that key regions and vertical industries will drive this high rate of growth and provide a transformative effect on how previously mass-produced goods can now be customized for individual needs and requirements. While emerging markets will represent a growth opportunity, IDC expects that Asia/Pacific, the US, and Western Europe will grow their aggregate share of global spending from 59,2% in 2014 to 70% by 2019, as China in particular becomes a leading market for 3D printing hardware and services.