Global Shipments of 3D Printers More than Double in First-Quarter 2015

Solidoodle 3D printer

London-based IT market-research firm Context reports that global shipments of personal, desktop 3D printers more than doubled in the first quarter of 2015. According to the firm, global shipments of personal, desktop 3D Printers priced under $5,000, rose by 24 percent in first-quarter 2015, resulting in a 114 percent year-over-year increase, as more brands entered the market, global channels expanded, and successfully crowd-funded 3D printers shipped.

“The nascent area of desktop 3D printing continues its upward momentum and continues to see entrants across a wide spectrum of industries, with offerings from legacy additive manufacturing stalwarts, to industry start-ups, to mature IT, manufacturing and tool companies all entering the space,” commented Chris Connery, vice president of Global Analysis and Research at CONTEXT. “As many of these companies begin to outgrow their stat-up efforts, expanding their distribution networks around the globe is a necessary next step toward expanding market presence.”

The North American market continued to lead, with 63 percent of all global shipments for desktop 3D printers going into this region during the quarter, with Western Europe next at 20 percent.

The top five global vendors (and brands), according to Context research, in the period were XYZPrinting (Da Vinci), 3D Systems (Cube/Cubify), M3D (Micro), Stratasys (MakerBot), and Ultimaker.

While market leaders XYZPrinting, 3D Systems, and Ultimaker all showed good year-over-year gains, the MakerBot brand from Stratasys struggled.

Global shipments in the period were bolstered, however by shipments from M3D on the back of their very successful Kickstarter campaign. This closed in 2014 and netted over $3.4 million against 10,800 pre-orders for their 3D printer dubbed “The Micro” offered during the campaign for $299 or less.

In the industrial/professional sector, market leaders Stratasys and 3D Systems both posted weaker than expected financial results in first-quarter 2015. On a unit-volume shipment basis, 3D Systems saw a year-over-year increase, but this was largely due to a low-priced machine, which straddles the line between professional, “prosumer,” and desktop systems, and yet is classified as a professional-grade printer by 3D Systems. However Stratasys saw its sequential and yearly unit-volume shipments fall.

More Resources

June 2015: Catching up with Konica Minolta and its 3D-Printing Initiative

April 2015: 3D-Printer Market Reaches Over $3.3 Billion Worldwide in 2014

December 2014: Gartner: High-Acquisition and Start-Up Costs are Delaying Investments in 3D Printers

October 2013: Gartner: 3D Printer Market to Reach $5.7 Billion by 2017

October 2013: Gartner: 3D Printer Shipments to Double, Spending to Reach $412 Million


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