In a recently released report, independent market research firm IDTechEx found that the 3D printing market did an impressive billion dollars in business in 2012, and that by 2025 it could reach four billion in total sales.
In the study, titled "3D Printing 2013-2025: Technologies, Markets, Players," IDTechEx argues that 3D printing sector growth has been driven by multiple factors, but the most important has been increasing awareness of the technology.
According to the report, the fields that will see the highest growth in 3D printing adoption over the next fifteen years will be medicine, dentistry, designer products, and architecture.
On the other hand, IDTechEx also points to a problem facing the 3D printing market – its narrow geographic spread. With the US and Europe currently responsible for a majority of the breakthroughs in the field, Asian developers will need to make their own 3D printing developments in order for the field to truly explode.
In my opinion, this is already happening. China seems to be catching up with the world when it comes to most things, and 3D printing is no exception. In addition, the Chinese government has also pledged millions of dollar to create business and innovation hubs across the country, to foster technological development.
But while some predict that China will be the world leader of this new century, other parts of the world are rising as well. Brazil, Nigeria, and, of course, India, will all begin to flex their economic and technological muscles. I can’t help but wonder if these countries might have an even bigger impact on the field than China will.
But back to the report…
Another disconcerting element is IDTechEX’s findings regarding the trajectory of 3D printer prices over time – mainly, that higher-end, industrial-grade 3D printers remain exactly as expensive as they were ten years ago. Fortunately, mid-level and consumer grade 3D printers, at least, have declined in price as per expectations. As larger industries begin to adopt 3D printing into their product design cycle, and the printers themselves become capable of producing finished products more quickly, even the most expensive industrial machines should see a decline in price.
Read IDTechEx’s Report here.
Image Courtesy of IDTechX