Over half a million 3D printers have been shipped globally since the earliest days of the industry in the 1980’s, according to research released today by CONTEXT, the IT market research company.
Over 85% of these printer shipments are from the relatively new sub-category of low-cost desktop models which emerged on the market a few years ago and currently carry a weighted average price point of €1,308. The net 15% of the total printers shipped on cumulative basis represent the largest portion of the total revenues, however, with products in this category carrying average selling prices from below €22,500 to above €1.8M. Weighted average price points in this legacy Industrial/Professional sector are currently just over €86,500.
« Growth in 3D printing has been phenomenal in recent years, » commented Chris Connery, VP for Global Analysis at CONTEXT. « This year has been challenging especially in the long standing Industrial/Professional market. Through the first half of this year, there have been 1% fewer printers shipped in this high-end sector than in the first half of last year, a stark contrast to the shipment growth of 29% seen from 2013 to 2014.«
« Even the fast growing Personal/Desktop 3D Printing sector, which saw phenomenal 61% year-on-year growth in the first half of this year, is showing some weakness with preliminary indications highlighting that Q3′15 shipments might be below those of Q3′14, » added Connery.
Additionally, Q3 2015 saw long-time industry players Stratasys and 3D Systems continue to struggle. Both posted weak earnings, showing declines in total revenues of -18% and -9% respectively.
Meanwhile, traditional printer manufacturers are entering the 3D printing market with products from Canon, Ricoh and HP Inc.
Despite the slowdown, CONTEXT predicts that the market is on track to ship the millionth unit by 2017, and upwards of 1M units per year being shipped by 2019.