Two recent forecasts indicate the global additive manufacturing market will grow to record levels.
One report is from Hubs (formerly 3D Hubs), who for many years has published a trends report. While there’s plenty of interesting detail in their annual report, one key finding is that they estimate the size of the 3D printing market will triple over the next few years to arrive at US$44.5B by 2026.
Another report from Fortune Business Insights suggests that that same market will grow by 24.3% annually, reaching US$83.9B by 2029. The report lists the 2022 market size at US$18.33B.
To some, these are just numbers and they don’t mean much. But in fact these estimates — and there are many other estimates of similar trends — are incredibly important.
The “market size” numbers indicate the amount of cash being spent on equipment, services, materials, etc. in a specific industry sector. In other words, how much people and companies intend on buying, now and in the future.
The smart players will look at these numbers and ask themselves, “how can we get a piece of that spend?”
If the market is to double or triple in the next few years that sets a goal for product and material developers: if they are able to figure out the right kind of product and make it available at the right time (2-4 years out), then they could be positioned to harvest some of that spend.
Typically product development lifecycles take about that length of time, particularly for new concepts. Prototypes must be designed and built, pre-production testing must take place, beta releases to friendly clients occur, all before the product can be properly released to the general public.
You can bet the farm there are multiple 3D print companies making significant plans to “be in the right place at the right time” based on estimates such as these.
The prospect of capturing that future revenue will certain persuade internal and external investors in 3D print companies to open the R&D budgets to develop new products to meet those future needs. In other words, those numbers above directly imply new 3D print products that are significantly better than today’s products.
The manufacturing industry is going to absorb a vast amount of 3D print technology in the next several years, with almost no limit to this growth. If the 3D print market is to be a massive US$89.3B, that’s still vastly smaller, not even one percent of the estimated US$12T worldwide manufacturing market.
There’s room for everyone, and more.