Lux Research, a global consulting company, has conducted a vast study – called Building the Future: Assessing 3D Printing’s Opportunities and Challenges. Based on the research, Lux estimates that the overall market size of 3DP in 2025 will be at $8.4 billion – marking a significant growth curve for the upcoming years, as last year’s figures were at $777 million. The report predicts, that this growth will continue to be led by three industry sectors – automotive, medical and aerospace industry – which are expected to take an 84% share of the total market, the heavy emphasis being industrial applications.
Anthony Vicari, the main author of the study, shares his views on 3D printing – aspects that undoubtedly validate issues already recognized by people inside the 3DP industry: “3D printing offers design flexibility and rapid implementation, but development needs remain in materials performance and printer throughput. Over the longer term, 3D printing has potential to reshape the manufacturing ecosystem, but it will have the most impact in the near term for products that are made in small volumes, require high customization and are more cost-tolerant.”
On a more detailed level the study also introduces four theses, which we could expect to see in the industry during the upcoming years. Lux predicts that 3D printing materials will (finally) start to come down in price, small volume production will witness a boom, 3D printed applications in the medical sector will also gain substantial growth, and, finally – and perhaps most disappointingly – the report suggests that the consumer market will remain on a “niche level” even in the future. More specifically, Lux estimates that the 3DP consumer goods were a market of $17 million in 2012 and will be at $894 million in 2025. Even though something that is worth 900 million dollars is by no means an irrelevant niche market – hence the quotation marks before – according to the overall size of the market it will be just less than 10%.
None of this is, of course, written in stone, but this study certainly introduced slightly more realistic predictions of the 3D printing market to come – compared with some of the wilder analyses that have been thrown around, where the market is quoted as increasing tenfold each year, which smacks of exaggeration.
Source: Lux Research