A report from researcher Canalys suggests the 3D printing market hit USD$3.3B in 2014.
According to the report, some 133,000 3D printers were shipped to customers last year, which they say is a 34% increase over 2013.
That sounds like a big increase, but let’s look a bit deeper. It turns out that approximately 75% of the shipments were for devices priced at less than USD$10,000, meaning personal, desktop or consumer 3D printers. The count of 133,000 units is a mix of small and large machines, so don’t go thinking that 133,000 large-scale industrial 3D printers were sold. In fact, this shows a very healthy growth in smaller machines.
This is not surprising, as most of the 3D printing companies we’ve spoken with indicate “record growth”, “doubled sales” or similarly extreme anecdotal statistics.
It’s a good thing. While the industrial 3D printer manufacturers continue steady growth, we’re interested in the consumer side in this equation. The recent mass awareness of personal 3D printers among consumers should lead to additional sales, and that appears to be the case. However, 3D printer, especially when attempted by general consumers, is still difficult, and we expect a bit of a backlash. But that evidently did not happen in 2014.
Meanwhile, the industry is healthy and that permits cash flow for many companies to improve their products or even invent entirely new ways of 3D printing.