There’s something a bit different happening this year in 3D printing: lack of holiday season promotions.
In past years several desktop 3D printing companies promoted their equipment through seasonal sales, much like other consumer products. The idea is to catch people when they are in the mood for buying equipment, and it makes a great deal of sense for any business to do so.
If you have a consumer product.
Indeed, a few years ago it was thought by some – in industry and in the public – that a desktop 3D printer could be a popular consumer item found in many homes. A couple of major 3D printer manufacturers promoted this idea, having taglines like “everyone is a maker” and “a 3D printer in every room of your home”.
That science fiction vision didn’t really occur due to ongoing challenges of flaky hardware, challenging operations, inability to obtain or create required 3D models and most prominently a lack of a compelling use case. As a result, desktop 3D printers were relegated to a smaller niche in the market than had been boasted.
Still, that niche is large enough to support some small desktop 3D printer operators, but at this point those in the niche mostly have already acquired 3D printers of their own and aren’t necessarily looking to upgrade.
Remaining desktop 3D printer companies have almost universally shifted their focus towards providing service to professionals and educators.
What this means is that we’ve likely seen the last holiday season sale of 3D printing equipment for quite a while. There will be fewer 3D printers gifted this year as consumer products.
But there is one interesting twist to this: if we do see a desktop 3D printer company offering a consumer-style holiday sale of 3D printers, one has to wonder whether their strategy is correct.