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Consideration On the Future of Consumer 3D Printing

Studying the data from this article I wrote a semester ago on the value of the largest 3D printing companies and their revenues, it must be said that the title is a bit misleading as the article considers real economic data and not financial performances. The only reason we considered traded companies is because their real economic data is easier to retrieve and give us insights on the future of consumer 3D printing.

As far as the future of the 3D printing market I believe that as much as 90% of business volumes if not more is going to continue to be produced by high level industrial 3D printers and 3D printing services, metal included.

This means that HP or other giants are going to be launching low cost 3D printers anytime soon, having witnessed the bloodbath that they have been for 3D Systems and Stratasys, both economically and financially. 

This also means that the road for small manufacturers is wide open and will be for several years as demand does exist but not in the order of magnitude that it can interest the tech giants other than for media or marketing initiatives.

Consider that, according to my very own personal estimates (which are quite random and solely rely on very subjective information and data) there are about 400.000 low cost 3D printers in the world today (about 3D years since this market segment came to be).

In order to start becoming an interesting market there should be at least 10 million, with sales of about 1-2 million machines a year (and even so it would be a tiny market segment, with global yearly revenues of only $1-2 billion). These are the numbers of a consumer market.

Think of the PlayStation: it usually sells at least 5 million units in day one and if it does not sell 100 million units in its 5-6 year lifecycle it is a failure. This means that all the small 3D printer manufacturers together still need to sell about 10 million machines before the big guys get seriously involved

How many have you sold so far?

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