3D printer market clicks on all fronts in 2017

Industrial and Design markets grow, Professional market emerges and Desktop market continues to surge

London, 9th January 2018 – During the first three quarters of 2017, both the Industrial/Professional and the Personal/Desktop sectors* of the 3D printer market witnessed global unit volume growth when compared to 2016. The Personal/Desktop market continued to surge, seeing 45% more printers shipped over Q1 to Q3 2017 than in the same period of the previous year, while the Industrial/Professional market is on track to post year-on-year growth in unit volume for the first time in three years having grown by 2% through the first three quarters.

Q3 2017 was particularly encouraging for the Industrial/Professional segment with 22% more printers shipped than in this period the year before, largely thanks to HP, Carbon and GE Additive. Polymer printers continue to dominate the market, accounting for 84% of Industrial/Professional machines shipped in Q3 2017, while metal printers accounted for 11%. Stratasys remained the global market leader for polymer 3D printers, followed by 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, HP and Carbon. GE Additive remains the global leader in terms of metal 3D printer shipments, followed by EOS, SLM, TRUMPF and 3D Systems. When revenue (units x price) is normalised across all printer types, the top five vendors in Q3 were the same as in Q2 although HP increased its revenue share to move from fifth to third in the global market.

Table 1: Top 5 3D printer vendors by revenue from Industrial/Professional* machines shipped in Q3 2017



In this third quarter, the Personal/Desktop continued its unfettered growth seeing unit shipments rise by 44% over the year to reach just under 115K units. The new market leader in this segment, Monoprice, continued to gain share by expanding its portfolio as well as by beginning to expand its global distribution.

        Table 2: Top 5 Persona/Desktop* 3D printer vendors by units shipped in Q3 2017


In 2017, the market began to recognise new classes of products and move beyond using a single $5,000 price barrier to define key segments. Companies leading the way in the new Professional class – which covers devices costing from $2,500 to $20,000 – include Formlabs, Ultimaker, Leapfrog, MakerBot, and Markforged. While all four new sub-classes saw printer shipments increase in the period, this class witnessed 162% year-on-year growth as brands like Ultimaker shifted to higher price points showing the relative inelasticity of pricing in this class of products.

“While the company names that stuck out in 2017 as market-movers were HP, Carbon, GE and Monoprice, former and current market leaders such as Stratasys, EOS, EnvisionTEC, 3D Systems and XYZprinting also held their own in a strong 3D printer market. This shows that the market itself is growing and is no longer being marked simply by share shift,” notes Chris Connery, VP for Global Analysis at CONTEXT. “This trend bodes well for the new year.”

Moving into 2018, all sectors seem poised for growth, with a rebound in the Industrial sector of particular focus for many. New movers like Desktop Metal are expected to make market headway and lead a wave of growth in a new category of low-priced metal 3D printers. GE Additive also seems set to push the boundaries of metal 3D printing. HP and Carbon are likely to continue to champion the move of polymer printing into mainstream manufacturing while Stratasys continues to bring novel polymer solutions – such as its H2000 infinite-build system – to market. Combining these with the fact that 3D Systems will begin shipping their much-anticipated Figure-4 platform this year leads to the prospect of a strong market in 2018.

CONTEXT will be presenting the latest 3D market insights at a breakfast event during CES this Wednesday. Please contact us for more information.

* Industrial/Professional = printers selling above $5,000; Personal/Desktop = printers selling below $5,000 (non-kit)

** Revenue generally from printer hardware but may include materials, software or other products.



CONTEXT’s market intelligence, performance benchmarks and opportunity analysis empower clients to optimise operations and accelerate tomorrow’s revenues. With over 30 years of industry partnership and of experience reporting on large datasets, CONTEXT delivers analytics at all points in the value chain, providing clients with actionable insights rooted in concrete data and a profound understanding of customer needs. CONTEXT is headquartered in London, with over 250 staff across the world and in 2017 was 2017 recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ by Great Place to Work®.

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