3D Printing: Rapid Consumer Industry Growth on the Horizon

Current Market Growth and Expectations

The 3D printing market, both materials and equipment, is trending upward and being driven prominently by consumer interest. Industries such as medical, industrial, and consumer markets are expected to make a large jump in the coming years. 3D printing healthcare applications are expected to cross the $3.8 billion mark in 2022.1 This is due to the ability create intricate models quickly and at a lower cost than some traditional methods. In an industry where each consumer need is unique, mass production is not always feasible or cost efficient under the current methods. 3D printing can help reshape that trend.

Current consumer based models have dropped in price and increased in accuracy every year.2 While there currently isn’t a 3D printer in every home, we will soon start to see a shift in which 3D printing isn’t just an aspect of everyday life but an essential component to everyday life. Per Chris Labelle, Co-founder and COO of Mosaic Manufacturing, this shift in 3D printing thinking will lead to:

“(1) 3D printing will become more efficient and economically viable for manufacturing at scale. (2) Products manufactured in traditional ways will gain elements of customization. (3) Consumers will benefit as more automation and customization will enable the delivery of more valuable products at comparable costs.”3

Consumer and Manufacturing Based Market Trending Up

Without adequate design and builds, a consumer aimed 3D printer is nothing more than an under-utilized piece of technology. It is with this thinking and market shift that we are starting to see the demand for design and builds that are targeting entry level consumers with easy to use technology and familiar usability. All while still offering high quality design and builds that will keep experienced 3D builders happy with the resulting product. We are seeing affordable 3D prototypes being funded at record speed, such as the AstroBox touch, based upon the familiar usability it promises to deliver.4 A large percentage of the 3D printing market is noticing the demand that the consumer is asking for. More 3D printers are being designed turn key ready, with simplified design systems such as Raspberry Pi, and mo affordable rates than ever before.

With the consumer market growing, the demand for printing materials is also increasing as well. Although the overall consumer market share is low, it is the consumer interests that will lead the other markets for larger and faster growth as we have already seen from the medical and industrial markets so far. Due to these consumer based projections, the materials market is expected to increase 20% in this short time frame as well.5

The 3D printer market has always been expected to trend upward. How consumer driven it was going to be was still unknown. If current projections are accurate, we could start to see a large shift in how 3D printing plays a role in our day to day lives. We are beginning to enter an era where 3D printing will play an integral part of how we function day to day as a society and what will dominate the market will be based upon consumer need.

Sources:

[1] http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/3599290/global-3d-printing-healthcare-market-estimation#pos-2

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2017/05/15/this-3d-printed-arm-was-designed-to-help-a-boy-play-the-cello/2/#423647a87f8a

[3] https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/3d-printing-next-five-years-chris-labelle-co-founder-coo-mosaic-manufacturing-112725/

[4] http://www.prweb.com/releases/astrobox/touch/prweb14326998.htm

[5] https://gminsights.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/3d-printing-materials-market/