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3D Printing Market Set For Steep Growth As Innovation Beckons

The 3D printing market is poised for steep growth in the coming years, with new printing capabilities set to emerge, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The IDC forecasts global revenues for the market will reach US$35.4 billion in 2020, more than double the US$15.9 billion forecast for 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 24.1 per cent over the forecast period.

The IDC states that 3D printers and materials will represent nearly half the total worldwide revenues throughout the forecast, while software and related services are also poised for significant growth.

Revenues for computer-aided design software are forecast to triple over the forecast period, with the market for on-demand parts services nearly matching this growth, with both markets being driven by the rapidly expanding use of 3D printing for design prototyping, along with products requiring a high degree of customisation in non-traditional environments.

This year, use cases generating the largest 3D printing revenues are automotive design – rapid prototype printing (more than US$4 billion), along with aerospace and defence parts printing (nearly US$2.4 billion), with the IDC noting that dental printing has also emerged as a strong opportunity.

“Customer spending on 3D printing capabilities is following the market away from mass market consumer printers towards holistic solutions that enable higher-end – and more profitable – use cases,” Christopher Chute, IDC vice president, customer insights and analysis, commented.

“As the market for printers, materials and services matures, IDC expects new 3D printing capabilities to enable a next-wave of customer innovation in discrete manufacturing, product design and life sciences.”

The IDC states that discrete manufacturing will continue to be the leading industry this year, generating 56 per cent of worldwide 3D printing revenues.

“IDC expects the worldwide 3D printing market to continue its rapid expansion over the next several years, driven by the need to reduce manufacturing cycle times and to reduce prototyping costs,” Keith Kmetz, program vice president of the IDC’s imaging, printing and document solutions research, stated.

“This growth will be fuelled by an explosion of 3D printer manufacturers from around the world, seeking to capitalise on the anticipated growth in this market with faster printers that offer better quality output at lower prices.”

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