Discovering How Our Readers Feel About Desktop 3D Printers & Brands

By on March 27th, 2023 in blog, news

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Survey results, 2023 [Source: Fabbaloo]

We’ve been busy analyzing the results from our annual survey, and have some findings to show you.

We run our survey each year to find out about you, our readers, and also to learn how we can tweak our operation to be better for readers. We’ve been doing this for quite a few years now, and the results are always interesting.

The demographics of the survey respondents was surprising. As usual, the vast majority of readers are male, with only seven percent identifying as female.

Of more interest was reader age. It seems that 70% of our readers are over age 40. This suggests there are many people now getting into 3D printing at older ages, and that’s a good thing.

It was no surprise to find that 88% of readers are split between North America and Europe, but we do have many readers in all other parts of the world. One reader indicated they are from “UK”, which I guess isn’t really part of Europe anymore.

Over half of our readers say they are DIY 3D printer people, while a little less than half are professionals using 3D printing. This makes sense, as we publish stories on both domains. While many might consider these two areas of interest in 3D printing quite different, there are plenty of similarities and movements between the two — often manufacturers of hobby equipment suddenly begin selling professional equipment, for example.

Almost half of our readers have been using 3D print technology for over five years, and three quarters have been into the technology for at least two years. Our readers are very experienced in 3D printing.

Half of Fabbaloo’s audience reads our stories weekly, which is a bit surprising: we publish over 20 stories per week. Wouldn’t it be easier to read each day?

Half of the respondents have been reading Fabbaloo for over two years, with many reading us for more than five years. Thank you very much for sticking with us!

The big questions we asked in our survey this year were about brand familiarity and purchasing factors.

We asked which desktop 3D printer brands were most familiar to readers, and these appear to be the most well-known brands:

  • Prusa Research
  • Creality
  • Anycubic
  • Flashforge
  • LulzBot
  • Monoprice

In terms of familiarity, Prusa was far and away the most well-known brand, with a considerable lead on other brands. The others on the list were moderately well-known, but the rest of our long list of brands were largely unknown to our readers.

Notably unknown were:

  • Easythreed
  • HE3D
  • gCreate
  • JGMaker
  • Cetus
  • Kingroon
  • Longer3D
  • Mingda
  • Syndaver
  • Tiertime

There are so many brands available these days it is not surprising some of these brands have been less able to reach customers. Note that we’ve tested equipment from some of these brands.

Finally, there were quite a few brands that readers were not “very familiar with”, but “knew something about them”, with a large proportion that “never heard of them”. These included:

  • Voron
  • TronXY
  • XYZprinting
  • Sovol
  • Snapmaker
  • Phrozen

And many more.

It’s a tough market, that’s certain.

Regarding purchasing factors, it seems that clearly the most important aspects of purchasing a desktop 3D printer are:

  • Print quality
  • Machine Reputation
  • Price / performance ratio
  • Spare part availability

It’s interesting two of the highest factors related to machine reliability: reputation and spares. Evidently readers anticipate machines breaking often, which is probably an appropriate thought.

Factors of some, but not top concern were:

  • Print speed
  • Build volume
  • Material choice
  • Open source
  • Accessories
  • Friend recommendations
  • Social media recommendations
  • Service
  • Warranty length
  • Web support
  • Sales promotions
  • OS compatibility
  • Shipment time

In truth, many of the factors we listed had a considerable response: most of the factors are important to large groups. The implication here is that each 3D printer purchase has different characteristics, based on the person, company, budget, technical skills and situation.

However, one factor was by far dead last in the list of requirements for purchasing a desktop 3D printer: Celebrity recommendations. Evidently no one cares about this, and the response was so strong in the survey that it’s likely celebrity recommendations could decrease sales, rather than increasing them.

Thanks to all who participated in our annual survey, and we will see you again next year!

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!

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