Global shipments of 3D printers (3DPs) priced less than US$100,000 will grow by 49pc in 2013 to reach a total of 56,507 units, according to information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.
Innovations in quality and performance across all 3DP technologies will drive demand from both consumers and enterprise, Gartner predicted.
Gartner said shipments will increase further next year, growing 75pc to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.
“The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. “While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results.”
In 2013, combined end-user spending on 3DPs will reach US$412m, up 43pc from US$288m last year. Enterprise spending will total more than US$325m this year, while the consumer segment will reach nearly US$87m.
In 2014, spending will rise by 62pc, reaching US$669m, with enterprise spending of $536m and consumer spending of $133m.
“As the products rapidly mature, organisations will increasingly exploit 3D printing’s potential in their laboratory, product development and manufacturing operations,” said Basiliere.
“In the next 18 months, we foresee consumers moving from being curious about the technology to finding reasons to justify purchases as price points, applications and functionality become more attractive.”
3D printer image via Shutterstock