‘Markets and Markets’ report that by 2018 the global 3D printing materials market around plastics and metals could be worth some USD$408.5 million. The report iterates that the 3D printing plastic materials market was worth $70.5 million in 2012. That market is expected to reach $209.6 million by 2018. To reach $209.6 million by 2018, the market will be growing at a CAGR of 19.9% from 2013 to 2018.
The media boom in 3D printing news has raised consumer awareness of the ability and availability of 3D printing technology. Across the spectrum, from industrial professional to home hobbyist, plastics currently continue to be the most popular material. The expansive growth of polymers is anticipated to continue in the next five years.
Metal 3D printing is a relatively far more expensive set of processes: thus metal materials are generally limited to high-end applications. Ceramics are a good example of affordable materials that will garner a high demand in future—a range of sectors and applications affected there.
The North American region dominated 3D printing materials market revenues in 2012. The Asia-Pacific region is the second largest. North America and Asia-Pacific together accounted for 68% of the 3D printing materials revenue that year. The two areas are the largest consumers and are expected to compete with each other to dominate the market by 2018, with advanced technological developments in 3D printing materials for end-users. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28% from 2013 to 2018. Europe is expected to be the next fastest growing market, with a CAGR of 16% from 2013 to 2018, owing to rising consumption in this region.
The 3D printing materials market is fairly limited: 3D Systems Inc, Stratasys Ltd, Arcam AB and ExOne Gmbh captured a huge market share between them — around 75% of the production and supply market share. This could change as more vendors come in to play and prices become even more of an issue.