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‘Dramatic shift’ expected in 3D printing market

The global 3D printing market is set to reach US$4.9 billion by the end of this year, according to new forecasts from Canalys.

The analyst firm is predicting the market, as well as associated materials and services, will grow at CAGR of 43.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching a value of US$22.4 billion. Shipments of 3D printers are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 67.2%, to reach 2.4 million units by 2020.

According to Canalys, vendors worldwide shipped 182,000 3D printers in 2015, a 37% year-on-year increase, with strong performances in both the enterprise and consumer sectors. 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% of total shipments, the analyst firm says.

“2015 was a tough year for many large vendors,” says analyst Joe Kempton.

“Many struggled to maintain their growth rates and, as a result, have been forced to take stringent cost-cutting measures,” he explains.

“Some, such as 3D systems, have even been forced to leave an entire section of the industry.”

At the low end of the market, Kempton says this has cleared the way for many new vendors to fill the gap, launching 3D printers at ever lower prices.

At the high end, companies have been left vulnerable to attack from newer enterprise-focused vendors, such as HP, which are just starting to enter the market, he says.

“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 substantial consolidation occurring in the market as some vendors are forced to leave,” Kempton says.

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