IDC: China to Surpass U.S. with 3D-Printer Shipments this Year

3d printing

According to market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), 3D-printer shipments in the People’s Republic of China passed 34,000 units in 2014, and is expected to reach 77,000 units in 2015, exhibiting a growth rate over 120 percent. According to the firm, this growth rate is largely driven by sales of desktop 3D printers priced under U.S. $5,000. IDC notes that as the Chinese government continue to promote 3D-printer awareness and use within schools and educational institutions, the Chinese desktop-3D printer market is expected to maintain an annual growth trend in the coming years.

“China’s local 3D-printer market will surpass the U.S. market in 2016 with an annual growth rate over 100 percent. However, the U.S. is expected to retain its position as the market leader in terms of market revenue, due to the greater proportion of high-end printers adopted by the manufacturing sector,”commented Wendy Mok, research manager for IDPS at IDC China.

“To capitalize on this growth, 3D-printer vendors will have to discover and meet the demands of corporate users and the trend of industrial transformation in China. Vendors should aim to provide comprehensive solutions in different market segments in order to increase their competitiveness,” Mok added.

idc prc 3d printer chart

Desktop 3D-printer shipments contribute to over 90 percent of China’s 3D-printer market. However, IDC says low-end desktop fused-deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printers priced as low as U.S. $500 occupy a high proportion of the desktop market. On the other hand, professional 3D printers make up 78 percent of total revenue in the 3D=printing market. As a result, market revenue from desktop 3D printers in China is lagging due to the distinct revenue gap. Aided by the Chinese government’s initiatives to promote 3D-printer awareness and training within the education segment, IDC expects the China 3D-printer market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43 percent, with a total shipment of 440,000 units by 2020.

IDC says 3D printing started to pick up in China since its mainstream popularization in 2014, with the Chinese government recently identifying it as a major aspect of their “Made in China 2025” industrial-transformation plan. Considering the high support that industrial transformation has received from favorable policies introduced in China’s 13th 5-Year Plan such as the “Made in China 2025” initiative, China buyers from the manufacturing sector will become more conscious of and more reliant on high print quality. The Chinese government is heavily promoting development in areas of hi-tech manufacturing such as bullet trains, aerospace and aviation. Demand from these segments for parts made by high-end professional 3D printers will drive the growth of China 3D printer market, narrowing the revenue gap between the China and U.S. 3D-printer markets.

For inquiries on this research document, contact IDC’s Shari Jane Jansen at


More Resources

December 2015: Global 3D-Printer Market has Hit Half-a-Million Shipments, but Market Struggling Lately

November 2015: Toshiba Previews 3D-Printer Prototype that Can Fabricate Metal Objects

November 2015: Epson Seeking to Have Faster, More Precise Volume Manufacturing 3D Printer on the Market in About Five Years

November 2015: Newly Created HP Inc. to Focus on Immersive Computing, 3D Printing, Graphic-Arts Printing, Copier/MFPs

October 2015: Ricoh Launches its First 3D Printer, the Ricoh AM S5500P, for Prototyping, Manufacturing

October 2015: U.S. 3D-Printer Market is ‘White Hot,’ According to New Research from IDC

October 2015: More on Canon’s 3D Printer: Faster Printing, More Precise and Durable Output

September 2015: Gartner Forecasts that Almost Half-a-Million 3D Printers Will Ship in 2016

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

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

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