Report: Desktop 3D Printer Shipments Grow By 114% But Which Vendors Lead?

By on August 3rd, 2015 in research

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We’re looking at a summary of an industry report from CONTEXT that calculates the growth in desktop 3D printer shipments was 114%, comparing 1Q14 to 1Q15. 

This is a reasonably healthy growth rate for the desktop 3D printer market, which CONTEXT defines as machines priced less than USD$5,000. That’s a pretty big range, as we can identify a few different grades of machines within it. Nevertheless, CONTEXT’s findings are quite interesting. Note that they also include sales from public crowdfunding campaigns, which currently account for a large number of sales for newer machines. 

CONTEXT found North America to be the leading market, slurping up some 63% of all desktop 3D printer sales in 1Q15. This is reasonably consistent with Fabbaloo’s reader base, according to our internal statistics. 

But which vendors lead? Here the answers are interesting. The top five players, according to CONTEXT, were: 

  • XYZPrinting (Da Vinci)
  • 3D Systems (Cube/Cubify)
  • M3D (Micro)
  • Stratasys (MakerBot)
  • Ultimaker

This list makes much sense to us. Here’s why we think these companies topped the list: 

  • XYZPrinting’s Da Vinci line of personal 3D printers is well made and very low priced. 
  • 3D Systems has dramatically increased their sales presence in many retail chains and locations.
  • M3D’s crowdfunded offering was perhaps the lowest cost 3D printer available, leading to a great deal of sales
  • Stratasys’ MakerBot line is the most well-known in the desktop 3D printing industry
  • Ultimaker is a well-made machine with a growing content ecosystem and many vocal fans

The list of five is slightly misleading, however, as it represents the number of SHIPMENTS, not the amount of revenue gained by each company and certainly not the profit by each. M3D’s machine, for example, is so low-priced that its margins must be razor thin. Even if they sell the most units, their company profit will be far less than MakerBot, 3D Systems and Ultimaker. XYZPrinting is in a similar position. 

Why mention profit? Simply because if the company does not make sufficient profit, it could be vulnerable. 

Meanwhile, a huge number of other companies will follow the top five in shipments. It’s highly likely that most of them shipped few units, so we expect to see some to disappear in the coming months and years. 

Still, a market that doubles each year will leave room for many to compete within. 


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!