Market Insights

Forecast says Asia Pacific to spend $3.6 billion on 3D printing in next 3 years

The market for additive manufacturing is growing. As we saw earlier this month, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has updated its Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide, predicting that the market-wide spending for 3D printing this year will rise to $12 billion around the world.

To give further insight, the IDC has now released a breakdown of spending in the Asia Pacific region. Over the next three years, from 2017 – 2021, IDC forecasts that the region (excluding Japan – APEJ) will spend $3.6 billion on 3D printing with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4%.

IDC logo. Image via IDC
IDC logo. Image via IDC

3D printing for aerospace, automotive, education and healthcare

Together with the United States and Western Europe, APEJ contributes up to 18% of the total spending in 3D printing worldwide. The primary area of business, as with the international forecast, is discrete manufacturing, i.e. making distinct items such as cars, planes and toys. By the end of 2018, spending in discrete manufacturing is forecast at $1.1 billion, which will rise to $1.7 billion by 2021.

Again, following the international trend, education and healthcare is the second sector after discrete manufacturing, and in APEJ will account for 37% of the overall spending in 2021.

Towards industry 4.0

Internationally, 3D printing for healthcare is tipped to be the fastest growing market but, interestingly, APEJ is expected to experience the fastest growth in telecommunications (50.2% CAGR)  and resource industries (44.0% CAGR), i.e. material mining/development.

Mun Chun Lim, Market Analyst of IDC Asia/Pacific’s Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions Research, comments, “As we are gearing towards industry 4.0 era, 3D printing is poised to transform the manufacturing process and how things are made.”

“The advent of 3D printing opens up endless possibilities and unleashing disruptive power in global supply chain. With on-going development, we will see penetration of 3D printing in other industries, with more innovative use cases developed.”

China leads growth

According to Lim, “China is the force behind APEJ growth.” For the same five year period, 2017-2021, the state has launched an Action Plan to raise the value of 3D printing to $3 billion. As Lim continues, “The Chinese Government is in support of the industry and multiple 3D printing action plan and fiscal supports are seen in place,”

“As results, it boosted the 3D printing uses and spending in the country with continuous interest and rising maturity.”

However, it is still too early to tell what impact 3D printing will have on the country’s mass production stronghold, as proved in a recent study by researchers at University of Nottingham Ningbo China, the University of Exeter in the UK, and De La Salle University in the Philippines.

3D printing in the United Arab Emirates

Known for its ambitious tech-driven development, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also recently released a report about the state of manufacturing in the country. Titled “Making the Future” the document examines the trends and prospects of UAE manufacturing, including the promise of a recent partnership with GE, and the inauguration of the International Centre for 3D Printing at Dubai Industrial Park which is, “in keeping with Dubai’s vision to become a 3D printing technology hub.”

Site of the International Centre for 3D Printing at Dubai Industrial Park. Photo via UAE
Site of the International Centre for 3D Printing at Dubai Industrial Park. Photo via UAE

For IT decision makers

The IDC Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide is “designed to help IT decision makers” understand the scope and direction of 3D printing expenditures over the next five years.

Though software (CAGR 26.9%) is trailing behind the services and materials aspect of additive manufacturing (CAGR 45%) the lion’s share of spending is necessarily supported by “industry 4.0 ready” solutions, like cloud computing. It will be interesting to watch how the market grows over the next few years.

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Featured image shows a stock image of Southeast Asia on a globe. Image via NYU