“Corrections” are negative financial events that are usually associated with the stock market, but could a correct occur in 3D printing?
In eager stock markets, prices can continually rise — to a point. And then bad things happen, and sometimes quickly. While one might say that the stock market identifies the true value of companies, it really isn’t doing that. Instead it’s identifying the level of interest by investors that may or may not correspond to actual company values.
Over time in a “boom” period prices rise until the point where a sufficient proportion of investors have doubts, and suddenly the price that was propped up by that interest collapses, along with the stock prices. In extreme cases some companies disappear, either organically or bought up by stronger rivals who can suddenly afford to do so.
Sometimes these financially-shaking events are triggered by an external factor, like, say, a pandemic.
We’ve all heard stories of how this or that company has been struggling immensely during the pandemic, but there are also stories of companies finding themselves in unique positions where they have grown substantially during the pandemic. Video call provider Zoom would be but one example of this.
As the pandemic sweeps across the world, so too does it impact the 3D printing market. Could it be that some of the more familiar companies we’ve come to love over the years will suddenly be “corrected” out of existence?
3D Print Success In The Pandemic
This may be possible, but unlike the rest of industry, where the default is “down” and the minority of companies are “up”, I think the reverse scenario is the case in 3D printing.
That is to say, while a great proportion of 3D printing companies are doing reasonably well during the pandemic or even growing strongly, there are some that are not for one reason or another.
I’ve spoken to a number of 3D printing companies over the past months and generally they report strong sales, although often after a lull during the initial period of the pandemic when virtually everything was shut down.
One reason for the strong growth is the shift in priority for businesses who previously depended on highly efficient overseas supply chains. When those broke at the beginning of the pandemic, companies realized they were emphasizing financial efficiency too strongly and essentially forgot about flexibility.
To quickly introduce the needed flexibility, and indeed in some cases to just get going again, many companies turned to 3D printing options for the first time. They discovered that indeed today’s 3D printing technology could meet their needs, despite their out-model preconceptions of 3D printing being useful only for prototyping.
That effect has greatly assisted many 3D printer manufacturers around the world.
But perhaps not all.
3D Printer Companies Failing
Those companies that have yet to find new pandemic-generated niches may be having trouble. I don’t know specifically who they are, because they obviously would not tell us so. But they are likely there, somewhere.
They will continue so long as they can maintain financial stability, but in some cases, particularly startups that have yet to establish full distribution networks, they may run out of money at some point in the next six months to year.
It’s the market speaking: these companies are valued, but these other companies are less valued. It’s a ruthless world, and not much different in the competitive space of 3D printing.