The global 3D printing market size was valued at USD 6.05 billion in 2016. Factors such as increasing research and development activities in the three-dimensional printing industry and increasing demand for prototyping applications originating from various industry verticals, especially healthcare, automotive, and aerospace & defense, are estimated to impel the industry.
Similar to terminologies such as prototyping, Additive Manufacturing (AM), and industrial printing or printers, the global population is still getting acquainted with the term three-dimensional printing, also commonly known as 3D printing or 3DP. The market is currently large and expected to grow rapidly in future as well, registering a notable CAGR of 16.5% over the forecast period.
U.S. 3D printing market by vertical, 2014 - 2025 (USD Million)
Conceptually, 3D printing is a layer-upon-layer addition of materials to form an object using a three-dimensional file with the help of a 3DP software that is compatible with the 3D printer. The industrial version of 3D printing resembles the Additive Manufacturing (AM) process. The three dimensional printing process includes the use of a three-dimensional printer, which may be either industrial or desktop 3D printers, a compatible software, and relevant printing technology. The process is then deployed by the necessary industry vertical.
The next stage involves on-demand services such as installation; consultation; customer support; solution offerings; and licensing, patenting, and copyright aspects. 3D printing is one of the most promising segments in the global technological arena. It is largely preferred in the manufacturing sector where prototyping is of utmost importance. Rapid prototyping allows the accurate designing of end-products or structure, enables enhanced modeling, and possesses optimized time-to-market capabilities to a considerable extent. Moreover, the technology enables the reduction of production expenditures, in turn leading to enhanced product offerings at a reasonable price. These factors are expected to significantly boost the current demand for 3D printers, thereby driving growth.
However, prevailing misconceptions with respect to prototyping processes among small and medium-scale manufacturers are hampering the adoption of emerging technologies. Furthermore, the rising need to create an awareness among design participants and entities, especially small and medium-scale participants, regarding the benefits of prototyping is currently being overshadowed by disadvantages such as high costs. Thus, lack of technical knowledge among labourers, absence of appropriate standard process controls, and less awareness regarding the benefits of prototyping are a few reasons that are likely to hamper the growth of the industry.
Based on printer types, the market has been segregated into industrial printers and desktop printers. The industrial printers segment accounted for the largest market share in 2016 and is anticipated to dominate the market over the forecast period. The major market share is stemmed from their extensive adoption in heavy industries such as automotive, electronics, aerospace & defense, healthcare, and others. Industrial applications, such as prototyping, designing, and tooling, are contributing to the high demand generated from these industry verticals.
Desktop printers, which were earlier adopted by hobbyists and small enterprises, are now witnessing a traction from the household or domestic segments. Furthermore, desktop printers are garnering attention from the educational sector, including schools, institutes, and universities, which is stemmed from the growing importance of technical training and initiatives for intensive research.
Desktop printers are also experiencing a growing demand from small businesses, which are likely to offer these printers as additional services with 3D printers and related materials. For instance, the U.S. market is experiencing a growth in the “fabshops” concept, which offers three dimensional printing of parts & components as per customer requirements and customized designs. As such, the market for desktop printers is assessed to portray a rise in demand over the estimated duration.
The 3DP industry has been categorized based on technologies into stereo lithography, Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), polyjet, inkjet, Electron Beam Melting (EBM), laser metal deposition, digital light processing, and laminated object manufacturing segments. The fused deposition modeling segment currently accounts for the largest market share owing to its large adoption across various 3D printing processes.
Several advantages, including ease of operations, offered by the FDM technology are another factor influencing the overall technology segment growth, thereby resulting in the increased adoption of FDM in additive manufacturing. However, technological advancements and intensive research carried out by industry experts have paved the way for several other efficient and reliable technologies.
Apart from FDM, stereolithography also accounts for a considerable share as it is one of the traditional technologies in the global printing arena. Technologies such as polyjet printing, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) are likely to witness growth over the forecast period. These technologies find applications in specialized additive manufacturing operations and applications. In addition, the growing demand arising from the aerospace & defense, healthcare, and automotive sectors has been leading to a considerable deployment of these technologies.
Moreover, the electron beam melting and digital light processing segments are expected to grow over the estimated duration on account of increased demand for these processes from the consumer electronics vertical. The segment is fragmented in nature owing to the broad availability of technologies in the industry and is anticipated to significantly contribute to the global 3DP market with increasing technological advancements.
The 3DP software market has been segregated into design, inspection, printer, and scanning software segments. The design software segment is used specifically for constructing designs of objects to be printed, particularly in automotive, aerospace & defense, and construction & engineering sectors. The market for the design software currently accounts for the maximum share and is anticipated to continue its domination over the forecast period.
As prototyping is one of the key propelling factors in the global 3DP industry, design software, which acts as a bridge between the objects to be printed and the printer’s hardware, plays a major role in the industry, accounting for a large market share. Furthermore, printer software accounts for the second largest share as it offers the compatibility of printing and building the final product.
The scanning software segment is estimated to witness a growing demand on account of the growing trend of scanning objects and storing scanned documents. The ability of 3D scanners to scan objects irrespective of their size or dimension allows printing objects using 3D printers by accessing the stored scanned file whenever required. The concept has gained popularity among geologists, archeologists, hobbyists, and researchers, which is likely to increase demand for scanner software over the forecast period.
3D scanners are witnessing increased adoption and are expected to generate a sizeable revenue over the forecast period. As a result, the scanning software segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2017 to 2025.
The 3DP has been segmented based on applications into prototyping, tooling, and functional parts. The prototyping segment contributed to the largest market share in 2016 owing to the high adoption of prototyping process across several industry verticals.
Prototyping is particularly applied by the automotive and aerospace & defense sectors so as to design and develop precise parts, components, and complex systems. It allows manufacturers to achieve higher accuracy and develop reliable end products, which are highly recommended to ensure safety. As a result, the sector is expected to continue dominating over the forecast period.
The functional parts application segment is expected to grow at a significant CAGR of 17.3% from 2017 to 2025. The increasing demand for 3D printers for designing and building functional parts is likely to augment industry growth. Functional parts include small joints and other connecting metallic hardware components.
While developing a machinery or system, factors such as accuracy in operations and precise sizing of these functional parts are of critical importance. The tooling application is expected to lead next and undergo a significant growth in the 3DP industry.
Based on verticals, the 3D printing market has been categorized as automotive, aerospace & defense, healthcare, consumer electronics, industrial, power & energy, and other verticals. The healthcare, automotive, and aerospace vertical segments are anticipated to contribute majorly over the forecast period by actively adopting additive manufacturing in various production processes.
The healthcare sector is driven by the increasing need for technological discoveries to overcome health-related issues globally. Moreover, 3D printing allows the development of artificial tissues as well as muscles, exactly replicating the natural living human tissues to efficiently be used in replacement surgeries across the medical field.
All these factors are expected to drive the adoption in healthcare, facilitating the overall industry to grow further at a significant pace. The segment is estimated to generate substantial revenue by 2025 and exhibit a healthy growth rate over the forecast period.
Furthermore, the growing demand for 3D printing in imitation & jewelry, miniatures, art & craft, and clothing & apparels industries is also garnering attention. The trend of creating customized objects and decorative products using this technology is anticipated to drive the other verticals segment at a notable rate.
Based on geographies, the market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and MEA. The North American regional market dominated the global 3D printing industry in terms of revenue in 2016, accounting for the maximum market share. The growth may be attributed to the increasing technological advancements and the region’s economic potential to invest in emerging technologies. The U.S. and Canada are some of the prominent and early adopters of emerging technologies across various manufacturing practices. These factors offer lucrative opportunities for 3D printing in different applications in the North American region.
Europe being the largest region in the world consists of several industry players operating actively in the additive manufacturing industry. The region has a strong hands-on technical expertise and an absolute know-how of additive manufacturing, which has made it the second-largest market.
On the other hand, the Asia Pacific region is anticipated to witness a remarkable growth in the 3DP market. The region is anticipated to register a CAGR of 20.4% from 2017 to 2025. The regional countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea are expected to emerge as the promising adopters of the additive manufacturing over the forecast period in the manufacturing practices in the various industry verticals.
The region has witnessed a rapid adoption of additive manufacturing, which is attributed to numerous developments and upgrades being carried out across the manufacturing industry. The region is subject to emerge as a strong manufacturing hub of the automotive and healthcare sector. Its strong hold on consumer electronic production and growing urbanization are also leading toward the growing demand for three-dimensional printing.
Service providers in the 3DP industry are intensively emphasizing on improvising the technology to meet the demands of 3DP applications and rapid manufacturing arising from the automotive, healthcare, and aerospace & defense applications. Eminent competitors in the market are Stratasys, Ltd., 3D Systems, Inc., Materialise NV, Autodesk, Inc., GE Additive, Made In Space, Voxeljet AG, and Canon, Inc.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2015
2017 - 2025
Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and South America, and MEA
U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, Rest of Europe, Japan, China, South Korea, and Brazil
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analyst working days)
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the 3D printing market based on printer type, technology, software, application, vertical, and region:
Printer Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Desktop 3D Printer
Technology Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Fuse Deposition Modeling
Selective Laser Sintering
Direct Metal Laser Sintering
Electron Beam Melting
Laser Metal Deposition
Digital Light Processing
Laminated Object Manufacturing
Software Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Vertical Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Aerospace & Defense
Power & Energy
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Rest of Europe
The Middle East & Africa
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