The traditional printer market has been turbulent during the last few years, due to shrinking demand and vendor consolidation. However, the upside for 3D printing is a bright spot. Canalys predicts that the worldwide market for 3D printers, and associated materials and services will reach a value of $4.9 billion by the end of 2016.
The total market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.5 percent from 2015 to 2020 -- reaching a value of $22.4 billion. Shipments of 3D printers are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 67.2 percent -- to reach 2.4 million units by 2020.
Worldwide, vendors shipped 182,000 3D printers in 2015, a 37 percent year-on-year increase, with strong performances in both the enterprise and consumer sectors. That being said, challenges remain as the market evolves.
The market continues to have mixed results, from a growth perspective. While industrial expenditure on 3D printers fell, educational establishments ordered thousands of systems for their students.
Overall, Taiwanese vendor XYZprinting held onto the top spot as the world’s largest 3D printer vendor, accounting for 38 percent of total shipments, according the the latest market study by Canalys.
3D Printer Market Development Outlook
"2015 was a tough year for many large vendors," said Joe Kempton, analyst at Canalys. "Many struggled to maintain their growth rates and, as a result, have been forced to take stringent cost-cutting measures."
Some, such as 3D Systems, have even been forced to leave an entire section of the industry. At the low end of the market, this has cleared the way for many new vendors to fill the gap, launching 3D printers at ever lower prices.
At the high end of the 3D printer market, companies have been left vulnerable to attack from newer enterprise-focused vendors, such as HP, which are just starting to enter the market.
As a result, Canalys expects to see a dramatic shift in the 3D printing vendor landscape over the course of the next few years, and we will likely see more substantial consolidation occurring in the market as some vendors are forced to leave.