Gartner Says Worldwide Shipments of 3D Printers to Grow 108 Percent in 2016[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
In the emerging Asia Pacific region, 3D printer shipments is expected to grow to reach 6,286
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers will reach 455,772 units in 2016, more than doubling the 219,168 units shipped in 2015, according to Gartner, Inc.’s latest forecast. Despite slowing growth rates after the market’s initial growth spurt, the increase in 3D printer shipments over the next four years will see the number of units shipped in 2020 total more than 6.7 million.
“Once a niche market, 3D printing has continued its rapid transformation into a broad-based mainstream technology embraced by consumers and enterprises around the world,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner. “The evolution of hardware and software along with an ever-expanding collection of usable materials has driven growth in both the consumer and enterprise 3D printing markets.”
Greater China, mature Asia/Pacific, North America and Western Europe continue to dominate the worldwide 3D printer market. Of the US$17.7 billion forecast in 2020, these four regions will account for $16.8 billion or 95.4% of worldwide end-user spending. North America and Western Europe continued to experience very strong growth in 2015; however, their shipment growth rates through 2020 will continue trailing several regions worldwide.
“We anticipate a major shift as Greater China, emerging and mature Asia Pacific regions experience a combination of high 3D printer shipments and high growth rates. The growth is driven by private-sector and public-sector organizations that recognize the threat that 3D printing poses to native industries that rely on conventional manufacturing technologies for their sales and the potential to lose orders for high-value, short-run and customized products,” Mr. Basiliere said.
Growth rates for regions such as Greater China are very high, but their initial unit shipments were far lower than in the more-developed regions.
In the emerging Asia Pacific region, 3D printer shipments in 2015 were low at 3,299 units, but this is expected to grow to reach 6,286 this year and almost 105,000 in 2020.
3D printing is now experiencing widespread acceptance beyond its application in specialist industries. Today, 3D printing is being used to create prototypes, augment manufacturing processes and produce finished products. Industries in a broad range employ 3D printing to a modest extent. Gartner expects wider and more diverse growth to continue as new technology providers and processes emerge.
Seven technologies constitute the current 3D printer market, with material extrusion forecast to lead the market through 2020, largely due to the low cost of entry-level material extrusion printers. Stereolithography printer shipments will also grow at a rapid rate as new providers enter the market and the range of printable materials expands.
“The primary market driver for consumer 3D printers costing under $2,500 is the acquisition of low-cost devices by educational institutions and enterprise engineering, marketing and creative departments,” said Mr. Basiliere. “3D printers are being utilized for several applications and subjects by students in secondary and postsecondary schools where the use of 3D printers can prepare students for many career paths, such as engineering, manufacturing, aerospace and robotics.”
The primary enterprise 3D printer market drivers are the part quality, material advances and the devices’ ability to make prototypes, tools, fixtures, and finished goods. Prototyping will remain the primary enterprise use for 3D printers throughout the forecast period, while their use to augment manufacturing will grow to 75 percent of enterprises by 2020. By this time, nearly 65 percent of discrete manufacturers that expect to use 3D printers will be using them to produce components of the products they sell or service.
“Aircraft and aerospace manufacturers have been taking this approach for years, using 3D printers to produce low-volume parts and small lots of parts with complex designs,” said Mr. Basiliere. “Military organizations, whose equipment often has very long lives, are working with defense contractors to evaluate 3D printing of replacement and modified components on shore and at sea.”
From a regional perspective, North America and Western Europe will continue to experience very strong growth in the 3D printer market in 2016; however, their shipment growth rates will continue trailing several regions worldwide. Gartner predicts that the Greater China, emerging Asia/Pacific and mature Asia/Pacific regions will experience a combination of high 3D printer shipments and high growth rates through 2020. This growth will be driven by private-sector and public-sector organizations that recognize the threat that 3D printing poses to native industries that rely on conventional manufacturing technologies.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,100 associates, including more than 1,700 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]