New data from IDC (www.idc.com) says that 3D printer shipments in the United States grew by almost 20% in 2015 compared to 2014. What’s more, total 3D printer shipments in the U.S. are expected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 16% through 2020.
“People and companies that are adopting 3D printers are routinely realizing tremendous time and cost savings in their product creation and development cycles. As printer speeds increase and the range of materials expands, a growing number of products and parts, and therefore markets, will be impacted by 3D printing/additive manufacturing,” said Tim Greene, research director, Hardcopy Solutions. “Already the 3D printer mix in the U.S. has changed over the last 12-24 months. While there are still a lot of shipments into the DIY/consumer market, tremendous growth remains in the segments with a more professional and manufacturing orientation. Leading 3D printer manufacturers are adopting new processes throughout their operations to reposition their businesses for this change.”
According to IDC, shipments in the very low-end, where 3D printers sell for below $1,000, are still projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 12% through 2020. These printers, nearly all of which are FFF/FDM-based, are becoming more useful with the expansion of materials that can be reliably 3D printed.
The research group expects strong growth (20% and more) in professional 3D printer segments, which rely on a range of technologies that provide more accurate and durable 3D prints, often at much higher rates of speed.
Shipments at the very high-end of the market, which are primarily based on materials jetting and sintering/melting technologies, are expected to grow at an aggressive rate over the next few years as a growing number of companies use these systems for high volumes of professional prototypes and on-demand parts manufacturing, according to IDC.