Worldwide shipments of 3D printers (3DPs) will reach 217,350 units in 2015, up from 108,151 in 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.'s latest forecast.
3D printer shipments will more than double every year between 2015 and 2018, by which time worldwide shipments are forecast to reach more than 2.3 million.
"As we noted last year, the 3D printer market is at an inflection point," said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner. "Unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers, which languished in the low single and double digits per year throughout the 30 years since the first 3D printers were invented, are poised to increase dramatically beginning in 2015. As radical as the forecast numbers may seem, bear in mind that even the 2.3 million shipments that we forecast will be sold in 2018 are a small fraction of the total potential market of consumers, businesses and government organizations worldwide."
Seven technologies constitute the 3D printer market, with material extrusion leading the market's growth through 2018 due to significant worldwide consumer adoption of 3D printers costing less than $1,000. The primary market drivers for "consumer" 3D printers are lower prices, improved performance and expanded global availability. The primary "enterprise" 3D printer market drivers are the viability of 3D printing technologies for prototyping and manufacturing coupled with lower 3D printer costs, improved quality and a wider range of materials.
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