Global 3D Printer Market Up 19% In Q4 2015

Shipments of 3D printers the industrial/professional segment declined 24 percent year-over-year, but metal additive manufacturing saw 35 percent growth in machines sold.

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LONDON — The market for Desktop/Personal 3D printers increased +22% year-on-year (Y/Y) in Q4'15 and rose +33% for the year with  XYZprinting extending its market leading share while the market for Industrial/Professional printers was down -24% for the quarter and -9% for the year.

Worldwide shipments of 3D Printers rose +19% in Q4'15 compared to a year ago, according to figures released today by CONTEXT, the IT market research company. Of the total 73,012 units shipped in the final quarter of last year, 96% of these were Desktop/Personal printers, mostly priced below $5,000, representing a +22% year-on-year growth rate. Shipments of 3D printers in the Industrial/Professional segment declined -24% over the same period with 2,907 printers shipped.

"This nascent side of the 3D printer market again saw great changes in 2015" noted Chris Connery, VP for Global Analysis at CONTEXT. "Companies with a long standing presence in the additive manufacturing market scaled back their expectations for this newer, desktop side of the market, retooling to concentrate more on their core B2B competences.  Other brands look to capitalize on these refocused efforts, however with start-ups, toy companies, IT companies and tool companies all competing in the market from different angles, yet all looking to get a piece of the continued strong demand for these devices."

For the full calendar 2015, the total market saw a growth of +30% in terms of total printers shipped marked by a +33% year-on-year growth for Desktop/Personal printers but -9% fewer Industrial/Professional 3D Printers.

In the Desktop/Personal 3D Printer sector, Taiwanese vendor XYZprinting remained the global leader in Q4'15, extending its share to 31% for the period and 21% for the full calendar year. The 2nd half of the year witnessed the de-emphasis of the sale of Desktop 3D Printers to consumers by former market leaders Stratasys/MakerBot and 3D Systems/Cubify, a mantle picked up by others including XYZprinting and M3D. The period also witnessed the largest crowdsourced effort to date for 3D Printers with the pre-sale of over 16,000 units of the $179Tiko 3D printer, expected to arrive during 2016.

As seen by the demand generated by the Tiko campaign, CONTEXT expects growth in 2016 to be fueled by even more aggressively priced 3D printers.  Market leader XYZprinting already showcased a $269 printer due later this year, with toy maker Mattel also getting in the game with a sub-$300 printer coming out by year's end. The year will also witness the entrance into the Desktop/Personal market from such notable brands as Polaroid.

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The Industrial/Professional portion of the 3D Printing market struggled as anticipated in Q4'15 with many eagerly awaiting the entrance of HP Inc (as well as Canon and Ricoh) to help reinvigorate the space. The market was characterised by great hype in 2013 and 2014 and began to settle down from lofty expectations in the 2nd half of 2015. Industry leader Stratasys retained its top market share position in Q4'15, shipping 48% of all 3D Printers in the Industrial/Professional segment in the period but sold 29% fewer printers in Q4'15 than a year ago.

The sector continues to be characterized by a wide range of technologies and price points, catering to myriad vertical markets with no one technology offering a silver bullet for all applications. 

Metal additive manufacturing, typically characterized by $500M-$2M+ machines, remained hot with the period seeing a 35% growth in machines sold versus a year ago.

"Since the 3D Printer industry consists of a wide range of prices for the various types of 3D Printing technologies, the market is often benchmarked not only on units, but also on revenue from the sale of printers," said Connery. "Doing so helps to show the growing importance of Metal 3D Printing overall with 2015 seeing three of the top five vendors all mostly concentrating on metal additive manufacturing (EOS, SLM Solutions and Arcam)."

Looking into the future, CONTEXT is forecasting the total global market for 3D Printing including not only printer Hardware, but also Materials and Services to grow from $4.1B in 2015 to $16.2B by 2020. 

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