Table of Contents
The Freedonia Group Incorporated is a leading international industry study/database company. Founded in 1985, Freedonia publishes more than 125 studies each year, covering such areas as building materials, chemicals, health care, packaging, pharmaceuticals, plastics, security, and many other industries. Studies cover entire industry sectors as well as key niche markets. Each study includes such valuable intelligence as growth markets and products, market share, product analyses and forecasts, market analyses and forecasts, and company profiles. Studies specific to the US also place the industry into its international context. This study analyzes the global three-dimensional (3D) printing (also known as additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, or direct manufacturing) industry.
Product segments covered include 3D printers, materials, software, and other (e.g., 3D scanners, parts). Markets for these products include consumer products, automotive, medical and dental, and other (e.g., aerospace, defense, textiles, food). Excluded from the scope of the study are 3D products that are printed and sold either externally (e.g., dental products or jewelry) or used internally (e.g., tools or jigs). Also excluded are consumer 3D printing services (such as those that allow individual customers to upload their 3D designs online and then have their 3D printed items shipped to them). Historical data (2002, 2007, and 2012) and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 are presented for 3D printing demand by product, material, market, geographic region, and major country in current US dollars (i.e., including inflation). The terms “market,” “sales,” “consumption,” and “demand” refer to apparent consumption, and are defined as shipments (also referred to variously as “production,” “output,” or “supply”) from a country’s indigenous manufacturing facilities plus imports minus exports. Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding, and some ratios are based on unrounded numbers.
Throughout the study, demand for 3D printing is related to various indicators for comparative purposes and to facilitate further analysis. Data on world 3D printing markets are derived from differing sources and developed from statistical relationships. Information and data on 3D printing were obtained from several primary and secondary sources, including government and trade publications, industry participants, and online databases. These and other supporting data were adjusted as necessary in light of consultation with personnel of participating companies and other industry contacts. Variations are commonplace among these types of international reporting, and, consequently, data presented in this study are historically consistent but may differ from other sources. Variances may also occur because of definitional differences. Major suppliers of 3D printing products are identified and profiled, and the key strategic and competitive variables affecting the industry are discussed. The entire report is framed within the world 3D printing industry’s economic, demographic, and market environments. World 3D printing market share data by company presented in the “Industry Structure” section are estimated based on consultation with multiple sources. Corporate annual reports, SEC Form 10- K filings, fact books, product catalogs, and other company-provided information were used extensively in framing the industry environment and as input for market size assessment. Macroeconomic and demographic indicators presented in this study were obtained from The Freedonia Group Consensus Forecasts dated June 2013.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) historical data are derived from the national income and products accounts from the Organisation for Economic Co- Operation and Development (OECD) for its member countries, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for its member countries, and from the International Monetary Fund for its member countries that are not part of the OECD or EBRD. Sources of GDP estimates for other countries are based on information from the World Bank and a variety of sources including the countries’ statistical bureaus. GDP forecasts are developed from a consensus of public agencies and private firms. All estimates of gross domestic product and components of GDP are done in terms of constant purchasing power parity in a benchmark year (2011) that is one year before the base year (2012) used in this study. Purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are obtained from the OECD; Eurostat; the World Bank; the International Monetary Fund; the US Central Intelligence Agency; and selected other sources. These purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are based on gross domestic product data expressed in the individual countries’ local currency, which are then converted to US dollars by valuing each country’s output at US prices in the benchmark year. This approach values the same physical output at a consistent price for all countries, thereby reducing the distorting influence of different price levels in the different countries. The alternative approach of using exchange rates to convert local currency GDP to US dollars would tend to overvalue the output of countries with high average price levels and undervalue the output of countries with low average price levels, because exchange rate conversions only partially reflect the relative prices for goods and services that are domestically consumed and invested. Furthermore, factors other than relative prices -- such as demand and supply in currency markets, interest rates, and capital flows -- affect exchange rates.
Once the GDP values for a country are estimated for the benchmark year, we then calculate inflation-adjusted GDP for all other years for that country based on historical and forecast growth rates of GDP expressed in inflationadjusted units of that country’s local currency. This approach ensures that the GDP series for any given country is an accurate index of changes in inflationadjusted GDP for that country. However, it also implicitly assumes that the price structures across countries do not change from those of the benchmark year. Therefore, caution should be used in comparing the relative GDP of countries in years other than the benchmark year. If the ratio of prices across two countries in a given year differs from the ratio of prices across those countries in the benchmark year, then the change in the relative sizes of those two economies as measured will not accurately reflect changes in output. The benchmark year is chosen to be one year prior to the base year for the study for reasons of data availability. One benefit of that choice is that the ratio of prices across countries in the base year is usually similar to that in the benchmark year. Therefore, the ratio of real GDP between two countries in the base year of 2012 is generally a reasonably accurate representation of the relative sizes of their economies.
World demand to rise over 20% annually through 2017
World demand for 3D printing is projected to rise more than 20 percent per year to $5 billion in 2017. While professional uses such as design and prototyping will continue to account for the majority of demand, the most rapid growth will be seen in production and consumer applications. 3D printers will increasingly be utilized to manufacture direct production parts and finished goods in a wide variety of applications. In the consumer segment, projected price drops in desktop 3D printers (helped by upcoming expiration of patents) will motivate purchases by hobbyists and doit- yourselfers for personal at-home use. Gains will also be driven by growing awareness and interest in 3D printing technologies. Furthermore, as 3D printing speeds and material quality improves, greater adoption of additive production technologies is expected.
Plastics to remain top material, metals to grow fastest
Above-average growth will be seen in demand for printing materials, as the rapidly expanding installed base of 3D printers fuels related materials consumption. Plastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), and nylon were the first types of materials used in 3D printing, and remain the simplest to work with. Plastics will continue to account for the majority of materials demand, but faster growth is projected for metals, based on their greater strength and resistance, as well as rapid gains in markets such as aerospace. Global demand for software and other 3D printing products such as 3D scanners will grow in line with the overall average, supported by ongoing needs for technological updates and upgrades.
Good opportunities in medical & dental market
Some of the fastest growth will be seen in the medical and dental market, with especially good opportunities expected in dental applications such as braces, prostheses, crowns, bridges, dental aligners, and models for dental restoration procedures. Other leading markets for 3D printing products include consumer products (e.g., jewelry, toys, fashion, consumer electronics), automotive, and aerospace, with the latter expected to see above-average growth. For instance, in 2013 General Electric announced plans to use 3D printers to produce fuel nozzles for its next-generation jet engine. These nozzles are expected to be lighter and stronger than those produced using conventional production techniques.
US to continue as largest 3D printing market
The US will remain by far the largest national 3D printing market in the world, accounting for 42 percent of global sales in 2017. In developed areas such as the US and Western Europe, 3D printing market value will be supported by the growing presence of metal-based 3D printers for the production of finished parts, as such systems are significantly more expensive than plastics-based 3D printing systems. Rapid gains are expected in China, where most applications (especially in large markets such as consumer products manufacturing) center around design, sample testing, or prototyping. Demand in China will also benefit from significant government funding in academic institutions, science and research centers, as well as manufacturing companies.
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