3D Hubs’ January Trends Yields a Surprising Result

By on January 16th, 2015 in research

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We’re looking at some interesting statistics presented by 3D Hubs in their monthly trends report. 

3D Hubs is a community network of 3D printers for hire, and this puts them in the unique position of being able to collect and analyze many statistics regarding 3D printer use. In fact, this month the company surpassed a significant milestone: 10,000 participating 3D printers. They’ve been publishing trend analyses for quite a while now and we often check out the latest findings.

This month there were several interesting items and several ongoing trends. First, the “trending” printers included a few newer models recently released. These machines typically experience a surge of purchases before settling back down with the rest. One of these was Flashforge’s Creator Pro, which grew a massive 59% over December.  

But what we thought was most interesting was the gradual disappearance of two major vendors from most of 3D Hubs’ lists. 3D Systems’ Cube line and MakerBot’s Fifth generation equipment are not significant in 3D Hubs’ database anymore. They used to rank highly, so what’s happened?

You can still find earlier MakerBot gear on the trends report, but their current equipment is lower ranked. MakerBot’s Fifth Gen Replicator, for example, occupies less than 2% of 3D Hub’s participants for 9th place, while the most frequently found Cube model is the CubeX, which is used by only 0.6% of 3D Hubs’s members. 

Why have the machines from these companies dropped? We think the answer is due to the new marketing strategies of the two companies. Both have recently moved away from directly addressing the DIY community and have focused elsewhere. 3D Systems pursues general consumers, while MakerBot has slowly been shifting their target to professionals for office use. Both of these target markets are far less likely to participate – or even be aware of – 3D Hubs’ community printing network. 

So it’s really not a surprise that these models are becoming less popular among 3D Hubs’ users. It also means that 3D Hubs’ statistics should be viewed as a view into the DIY community and not so much the 3D print world as a whole.

Via 3D Hubs

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!