The global 3D printing market size was valued at USD 13.78 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028. Globally, 2.1 million units of 3D printers were shipped in 2020 and the shipments are expected to reach 15.3 million units by 2028. The aggressive R&D in three-dimensional printing (3DP) and the growing demand for prototyping applications from various industry verticals, particularly healthcare, automotive, and aerospace and defense, are expected to drive market growth. The industrial application of 3DP is referred to as Additive Manufacturing (AM) as it involves a layer-by-layer addition of material to form an object referring to a three-dimensional file with the help of software and a 3-dimensional printer. A relevant 3D printing technology is selected from the available set of technologies to implement the process. The last step involves the deployment of this process across different industry verticals based on necessity.
The deployment includes providing installation services, offering consultation solutions, and customer support, as well as handling aspects related to copyrights, licensing and patenting. 3D printing is benefiting manufacturers in terms of prototyping, designing of the structure and end products, modeling, and time to market. As a result, the production expenses have reduced considerably, and the manufacturers are in a position to offer better products at reasonable prices. As a result of these benefits, the demand for 3D printers is expected to trigger more in the coming years.
However, the prevailing misconceptions concerning the prototyping processes held by the small and medium-scale manufacturers are hindering the adoption of additive manufacturing. Companies involved in designing, particularly small-scale and medium-scale enterprises are deliberating before considering investments in prototyping as accountable investments rather than trying to understand the advantages and benefits of prototyping. The general notion prevailing among these enterprises is that prototyping is merely an expensive phase before manufacturing. Such perceptions regarding the prototyping coupled with the lack of technical knowledge and a looming lack of standard process controls are expected to hinder the market growth.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the overall global economy and, subsequently, the 3D printing industry. Initially, Europe and the Asia Pacific were some of the worst affected regions in terms of the number of COVID-19 patients across the globe. Further, the situation worsened in the U.S. as well. Due to the rapid spread of the virus, the governments issued an order for the complete lockdown of some key cities. The complete lockdown affected the production of 3D printing manufacturers. This is attributed to the labor shortage and the complete disruption of logistics and supply chain in the nation. The halt in the production of 3D printing is impeding the overall market growth in the first and second quarter of 2020.
The industrial printer segment led the market and accounted for more than 76% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on the printer types, the industry has been further segmented into industrial and desktop 3D printers. Both desktop and industrial 3-dimensional printer segments are further divided into hardware, software, and services.
The higher share of industrial printers can be attributed to the extensive adoption of industrial printers in heavy industries, such as automotive, electronics, aerospace and defense, and healthcare. Prototyping, designing, and tooling are some of the most common industrial applications across these industry verticals. Extensive adoption of 3D printing for prototyping, designing, and tooling are contributing to the growing demand from the industrial sector. Hence, the industrial printers segment is expected to continue dominating over the forecast period.
On the other hand, the adoption of desktop 3-dimensional printers was initially limited to hobbyists and small enterprises. However, they are being increasingly used for household and domestic purposes nowadays. The education sector, which comprises schools, educational institutes, and universities, is also deploying desktop printers for technical training and research purposes.
Small businesses are particularly adopting desktop printers and diversifying their business operations to offer 3D printing and other related services. For instance, the concept of ‘fabshops’ is gaining popularity in the U.S. These fabshops offer on-demand 3D printing of parts and components as per the designs and requirements provided by the customers. Hence, the demand for desktop printers is expected to rise significantly over the forecast period.
The stereolithography segment led the market and accounted for more than 10% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on technology, segmentation has been done into stereolithography, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), inkjet, polyjet, laser metal deposition, Electron Beam Melting (EBM), digital light processing, laminated object manufacturing, and others.
At present, stereolithography technology is holding the largest share as it happens to be one of the oldest and conventional printing technologies. The stereolithography segment accounted for around 11% of the share in 2020 as compared to the other technologies adopted in additive manufacturing processes.
Although the advantages and ease of operations associated with the stereolithography technology are encouraging the adoption of this technology, advances in technology and aggressive research and development activities undertaken by the industry experts and researchers are opening opportunities for several other efficient and reliable technologies.
FDM also accounts for a considerable revenue share, owing to extensive adoption of the technology across various 3DP processes. The DLP, EBM, inkjet printing, and DMLS are also expected to witness a growing adoption over the forecast period, as these technologies are applicable in specialized additive manufacturing processes. The growing demand from aerospace and defense, healthcare, and automotive verticals would open opportunities for the adoption of these technologies.
The design software segment led the 3D printing market and accounted for more than 36% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on software, the 3DP industry has been segmented into design software, inspection software, printer software, and scanning software. Design software is used for constructing the designs of the object to be printed, particularly in automotive, aerospace and defense, and construction and engineering verticals. Design software acts as a bridge between the objects to be printed and the printer’s hardware. Hence, the design software holds the largest share in 2020 and is expected to continue dominating the market over the forecast period.
The demand for scanning software is estimated to grow on account of the growing trend of scanning objects and storing scanned documents. This ability to store the scanned images of the objects irrespective of their size or dimensions for 3-dimensional printing of these objects whenever necessary is expected to drive the growth of the scanner software segment over the forecast period.
The scanners software segment is expected to witness rapid growth and generate considerable revenues over the forecast period in line with the growing adoption of scanners. The market size of the segment is projected to expand at the highest CAGR of 21.4% from 2021 to 2028.
The prototyping segment led the market and accounted for more than 55% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on application, the industry has been segmented further into prototyping, tooling, and functional parts. The prototyping segment accounted for the largest share in 2020 owing to extensive adoption of the prototyping process across several industry verticals.
The automotive and aerospace and defense verticals particularly use prototyping to design and develop parts, components, and complex systems precisely. Prototyping allows manufacturers to achieve higher accuracy and develop reliable end products. Hence, the prototyping segment is expected to continue dominating the market over the forecast period.
Functional parts include smaller joints and other metallic hardware connecting components. The accuracy and precise sizing of these functional parts are of paramount importance while developing machinery and systems. The functional parts segment is expected to expand at a significant CAGR of 21.5% from 2021 to 2028 in line with the increasing demand for designing and building functional parts.
The automotive segment led the market and accounted for more than 23% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on verticals, the industry has been segmented into separate verticals for desktop and industrial 3D printing. The verticals considered for desktop 3DP comprises educational purpose, fashion and jewelry, objects, dental, food, and others. The verticals considered for industrial 3DP comprises automotive, aerospace and defense, healthcare, consumer electronics, industrial, power and energy, and others.
The aerospace and defense, healthcare, and automotive verticals are anticipated to contribute significantly toward the growth of industrial additive manufacturing over the forecast period owing to the active adoption of technology in various production processes associated with these verticals.
In the healthcare sector, AM helps in the development of artificial tissues and muscles, which replicate the natural human tissues and can be used in replacement surgeries. These capabilities are expected to help in driving the adoption of 3DP across the healthcare vertical and contribute significantly towards the growth of the industrial segment.
On the other hand, dental, fashion and jewelry, and food verticals are anticipated to contribute significantly to the growth of the desktop 3DP segment over the forecast period. The dental vertical dominated in 2020 and it is expected to continue dominating the segment over the forecast period. The adoption of 3D printing in manufacturing imitation jewelry, miniatures, art and craft, and clothing and apparel is also gaining traction.
The metal segment led the market and accounted for more than 48% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on material, the industry has been segmented further into polymer, metal, and ceramic. The polymer segment accounted for the second-largest share in 2020. However, the metal segment is anticipated to keep dominating over the forecast period. The metal segment is also expected to expand at the highest CAGR of above 26% over the next six years.
Considering additive manufacturing using ceramic material is fairly new, the increasing R&D for 3DP technologies such as FDM and inkjet printing has led to rising demand for ceramic AM. The segment is expected to witness a high CAGR of more than 23.3% over the forecast period.
The hardware segment led the market and accounted for more than 63% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on component, the industry has been segmented further into hardware, software, and services. The hardware segment contributed to a majority of the entire industry share and is anticipated to keep dominating over the forecast period.
The 3DP hardware component segment is further divided into printer type, technology, applications, vertical, and material. The software segment is further bifurcated into printer type and software type. The services segment is segregated only by the printer type. The hardware segment is expected to continue holding the largest revenue share. The software segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR over the next six years.
The North America segment led the market and accounted for more than 35% share of the global revenue in 2020. Based on regions, the global 3DP industry has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa. North America dominated the market owing to the extensive adoption of additive manufacturing in the region. North American countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, have been some of the prominent and early adopters of 3D printing technologies in various manufacturing processes.
On the other hand, Europe happens to be the largest region in terms of its geographical footprint. It is home to several additive manufacturing industry players, which hold strong technical expertise in additive manufacturing processes. Hence, the European regional market happens to be the second largest.
However, the Asia Pacific region is projected to witness the highest CAGR over the forecast period. This rapid adoption of additive manufacturing in the Asia Pacific can be attributed to the developments and upgrades across the manufacturing industry within the region. The Asia Pacific region is also emerging as a manufacturing hub for the automotive and healthcare industries. A stronghold on the production of consumer electronics coupled with rapid urbanization is also contributing to the rising demand for three-dimensional printing in the region.
The market players focus on improvising the 3D printing technology in response to the growing demand for 3D printing applications from the automotive, healthcare, and aerospace and defense verticals for manufacturing purposes. The key players are identifying potential for business transformation by adopting additive manufacturing into new product development processes. Market leaders like Stratasys Ltd. are moving beyond prototyping toward utilizing the agility that 3D printing can contribute to the complete manufacturing value chain. With its innovative line of 3D printers featuring Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF) technology, the company can quickly and cost-effectively produce large end-use parts using additive manufacturing. Some of the prominent players operating in the global 3D printing market are:
3D Systems, Inc.
Made In Space
Market size value in 2021
USD 16.54 billion
Revenue forecast in 2028
USD 62.79 billion
CAGR of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028
Base year for estimation
2017 - 2019
2021 - 2028
Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2021 to 2028
Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
Component, printer type, technology, software, application, vertical, material, region
North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; South America; MEA
U.S.; Canada; Mexico; U.K.; Germany; France; Italy; Spain; Japan; China; India; South Korea; Singapore; Brazil
Key companies profiled
Stratasys, Ltd.; Materialise; EnvisionTec, Inc.; 3D Systems, Inc.; GE Additive; Autodesk Inc.; Made In Space; Canon Inc.; Voxeljet AG
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The report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. Additionally, the report covers shipment estimates and forecasts as well as ASP qualitative analysis from 2017 to 2028. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global 3D printing market report based on component, printer type, technology, software, application, vertical, material, and region:
Component Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Printer Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Desktop 3D Printer
Industrial 3D Printer
Technology Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Fused 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, 2017 - 2028)
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Vertical Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Industrial 3D Printing
Aerospace & Defense
Power & Energy
Desktop 3D Printing
Fashion & Jewelry
Material Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
Middle East & Africa
b. Some key players operating in the 3D printing market include Stratasys, Ltd.; Materialise; EnvisionTec, Inc.; 3D Systems, Inc.; GE Additive; Autodesk Inc.; Made In Space; Canon Inc.; and Voxeljet AG.
b. Key factors that are driving the 3D printing market growth include aggressive R&D in Three-Dimensional Printing (3DP) and growing demand for prototyping applications from various industries.
b. The global 3D printing market size was estimated at USD 13.78 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 16.54 billion in 2021.
b. The global 3D printing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.0% from 2021 to 2028 to reach USD 62.79 billion by 2028.
b. North America dominated the 3D printing market with a share of 35.39% in 2020. This is attributable to the early adoption of 3D printing technology in various manufacturing processes in the region.
b. The metal segment is expected to advance at the highest CAGR of more than 31.4% during the forecast period and is expected to become the market leader by 2028.
b. The growth of the 3D printing market is expected to be hindered by the prevailing misconception among small- and medium-scale enterprises regarding the costs involved in the prototyping process, along with a lack of technical expertise in this area.
b. Industrial printers are expected to continue their dominance in the 3D printing market over the forecast period, owing to their widespread adoption in major industries such as automotive, healthcare, and electronics.
b. Some of the notable technologies involved in the 3D printing market include stereolithography, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), inkjet, polyjet, laser metal deposition, Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), digital light processing, Electron Beam Melting (EBM), and laminated object manufacturing, among others.
b. The scanning software segment is anticipated to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period, advancing at a CAGR of 21.3% from 2021 to 2028.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) solutions are anticipated to substantially contribute while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and address continuously evolving challenges. The existing situation owing to the outbreak of the epidemic will inspire pharmaceutical vendors and healthcare establishments to improve their R&D investments in AI, acting as a core technology for enabling various initiatives. The insurance industry is expected to confront the pressure associated with cost-efficiency. Usage of AI can help in reducing operating costs, and at the same time, can increase customer satisfaction during the renewal process, claims, and other services. VR/AR can assist in e-learning, for which the demand will surge owing to the closure of many schools and universities. Further, VR/AR can also prove to be a valuable solution in providing remote assistance as it can support in avoiding unnecessary travel. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.