Tough year for vendors as 3D printing market prepares for “substantial consolidation”

Tough year for vendors as 3D printing market prepares for “substantial consolidation”

“Dramatic shift” in the 3D printing vendor landscape expected over the course of the next few years.

Worldwide market for 3D printers, and associated materials and services will reach a value of US$4.9 billion by the end of 2016, with market opportunity on pace to reach US$22.4 billion by 2020.

According to research analyst firm Canalys, the total market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.5 percent from 2015 to 2020, with shipments of 3D printers forecast to grow at a CAGR of 67.2 percent, to reach 2.4 million units by 2020.

“2015 was a tough year for many large vendors,” Canalys Research Analyst, Joe Kempton, said. “Many struggled to maintain their growth rates and, as a result, have been forced to take stringent cost-cutting measures.

“Some, such as 3D Systems, have even been forced to leave an entire section of the industry. At the low end of the market, this has cleared the way for many new vendors to fill the gap, launching 3D printers at ever lower prices.

“At the high end, companies have been left vulnerable to attack from newer enterprise-focused vendors, such as HP, which are just starting to enter the market.”

As a result, Canalys expects to see a “dramatic shift” in the 3D printing vendor landscape over the course of the next few years, with “substantial consolidation” occurring in the market as some vendors are forced to leave.

Worldwide, vendors shipped 182,000 3D printers in 2015, a 37 percent year-on-year increase, with strong performances in both the enterprise and consumer sectors.

While industrial expenditure on 3D printers fell, Kempton said educational establishments ordered thousands of systems for their students.

Overall, Taiwanese vendor XYZprinting held onto the top spot as the world’s largest 3D printer vendor, accounting for 38 percent of total shipments.

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