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Global spending on 3D printing expected to surpass US$35 billion in 2020: International Data Corporation

August 12, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Global revenues for the 3D printing market are expected to reach US$35.4 billion in 2020, over twice the US$15.9 billion forecast for this year, according to a recent update to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide.

Mature Woman Working By 3D Printer in New Startup Office.Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets, said in a press release on Thursday that the increase represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.1% over the 2015-2020 forecast period.

The spending guide quantifies the opportunity for 3D printers, which enable the creation of objects and shapes made through material that is laid down successively upon itself from a digital model or file, IDC explained in the release. Revenue data is available for more than 20 use cases across 20 industries in eight regions, including Canada and the United States.

The report noted that overall, manufacturing innovation has been the key driver behind the 3D printing market. “Given the increased use of 3D printing for prototyping and parts production, it comes as no surprise that discrete manufacturing will continue to be the leading industry, generating 56% of worldwide 3D printing revenues in 2016,” the release said.

Healthcare and professional services will remain the second- and third-largest industries in terms revenues over the five-year forecast period, while retail will experience the greatest revenue growth, vaulting into the fourth position by 2020. Meanwhile, revenues from consumer 3D printing will “grow modestly as this market has already matured.”

While 3D printers and materials will represent nearly half the total worldwide revenues throughout the forecast, software and related services will also experience significant growth, IDC said. Revenues for computer-aided design software are forecast to triple over the five-year forecast period while the market for on-demand parts services will nearly match this growth. The gains in both software and on-demand parts printing are being driven by the rapidly expanding use of 3D printing for design prototyping and products that require a high degree of customization in non-traditional environments, the release said.

The use cases that will generate the largest revenues for 3D printing in 2016 are automotive design – rapid prototype printing (more than US$4 billion) and aerospace and defence parts printing (nearly US$2.4 billion). Dental printing has also emerged as a strong opportunity in 2016.

“Customer spending on 3D printing capabilities is following the market away from mass market consumer printers towards holistic solutions that enable higher-end – and more profitable – use cases,” said Christopher Chute, IDC’s vice president of customer insights and analysis, in the release. “As the market for printers, materials and services matures, IDC expects new 3D printing capabilities to enable a next-wave of customer innovation in discrete manufacturing, product design, and life sciences.”

Keith Kmetz, program vice president of IDC’s imaging, printing and document solutions research, added that IDC expects the worldwide 3D printing market to “continue its rapid expansion over the next several years, driven by the need to reduce manufacturing cycle times and to reduce prototyping costs. This growth will be fueled by an explosion of 3D printer manufacturers from around the world, seeking to capitalize on the anticipated growth in this market with faster printers that offer better quality output at lower prices.”

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