Growth Slows in Metal 3D Printer Shipments in 1H’16


Industry remains bullish on outlook for metal sector, as GE increases investment

Worldwide shipments of 3D Printing machines which produce metal parts were up +17% in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period one year ago despite the woes in the overall Industrial/Professional 3D Printer market, according to figures released today by IT Market research company CONTEXT. Metal based 3D Printers remain one of the bright spots of the struggling Industrial/Professional 3D Printer market (made up of printers mostly focused on plastics and metals) which witnessed -15% fewer printers shipped in the first half of 2016 compared to 1H 2015. Quarterly tracking shows that the hot-growth sub-sector of Metal 3D Printers is slowing, however with Q2’16 showing only +12% more machines shipped compared to a year ago.

The slowing growth of printer shipments in recent quarters is not impacting the bullish outlook for this sector of the Industrial 3D Printing market, with this “slow down” seen as a micro-blip mostly caused by activities surrounding one of the largest companies in the world, General Electric.

The metal 3D Printer segment continues to be an important part of the market. While in the first half of the year, shipments of metal 3D Printers accounted for just 9% of the Industrial/Professional printer total (up from 6% a year ago) their shipments accounted for 35% of the total printer revenues in the period thanks to an ASP of $465K per printer (compared to an ASP of $115K for the sector in total).

With the rise of new plastic based Powder Bed Fusion solutions (typically using nylon) from HP, Ricoh and others, together with the continued growth in the Metals space, CONTEXT is reporting that additive manufacturing machines based on powder are poised to grow at a 63% 5-Year CAGR to a unit share of 26% by 2020. 

All data in this Research Update is drawn from Q3 2016 CONTEXT AM3DP report, available on subscription.. If you would like further details on this services, please contact Danielle Cohen on

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Data Source:

The CONTEXT Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing (AM3DP) Research Updates are drawn from CONTEXT’s Global Quarterly AM3DP Report. This report covers the Global market, including both the Personal/Desktop sector and the Industrial/Professional sector, and is based on supply-chain supported quarterly Vendor ship-out data from Vendor company HQ by geographic region, vendor and core 3DP/AM technology.
In the EMEA region, the report is augmented with sell through, POS and pricing data from CONTEXT SalesWatch Distribution (weekly distributor sell-through including data from Global Technology Distribution Council ( members across Europe), and CONTEXT MarketWatch (monthly reseller, retailer, etailer sell-out) and CONTEXT PriceWatch (List, Trade, Street and Promotion pricing).



||| CONTEXT Global Quarterly AM3DP report provides Vendor quarterly sales-out from Vendor company HQ by geographic region, vendor and core 3DP/AM technology.
||| CONTEXT SalesWatch Distribution reports deliver complete market data on product sell-through in Europe's IT distribution market in a wide range of product categories.
||| CONTEXT MarketWatch delivers complete visibility of all IT sales to businesses and consumers from our Retail and B2B panels.
||| CONTEXT PriceWatch Service provides competitive pricing intelligence to IT Vendors who need to keep abreast of their competition's product, pricing and promotional activity across Europe, the Americas and APAC regions.

||| CONTEXT Shipments Service provides Vendor quarterly sales-in to all channels, including direct and indirect sales, covering PCs, Printers and Displays across Europe.

Headquartered in London with approximately 250 staff across the world, CONTEXT specialises in tracking technology sales and pricing globally. Supported by the largest Distribution Channel Database in the world and coupled with our extensive experience in managing and reporting on large data sets, we provide the highest quality data that has been helping our clients make business-critical decisions for over 30 years. CONTEXT also works with Government Statistical Services and key Trade Associations globally.

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