Top 3D-Printer Brands Moving Away from Consumer 3D Printing

multi-jet fusion

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer for professional prototyping and manufacturing will be released later this year.

Last month, European IT market-research Context reported its sales-research data indicates that global 3D-printing market leaders Stratasys and 3D Systems are both beginning to refocus away from general consumer-level 3D-printers. The firm says this shift was foreshadowed by weaker consumer 3D-printer shipments in third-quarter 2015, and that it expects fourth-quarter 2015 results to be weaker as well.

According to Context, the Stratasys-owned MakerBot brand dropped to fourth place in terms of global market share during the third quarter, and 3D Systems, with its Cubify consumer brand (which it has since announced it will be dropping), fell to fifth. In 2014, these brands held the number-one and number-three spots.

Chart: Third-Quarter 2015 Global Desktop/Personal 3D Printer Unit Shipments and Share – Top 5

Rank

Company Brand

Units

Share

1

XYZprinting da Vinci

9,050

18%

2

Ultimaker Ultimaker

5,024

10%

3

M3D The Micro

4,991

10%

4

Stratasys MakerBot

4,144

8%

5

3D Systems Cubify

4,040

8%

Context however notes that not all brands have given up on selling 3D printers to general consumers for home use. It notes that at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), XYZprinting, the new global leader in the desktop/personal 3D-printer segment, introduced its forthcoming da Vinci Mini 3D printer, which, priced at $269, is clearly aimed at the mainstream home market. Last year’s Kickstarter upstart M3D also recently reiterated its focus on general consumers with the promotion of its post-crowdsourced effort Retail Edition for $449, and its expansion into Amazon.com and Micro Center. Also announced at CES was the introduction of the very consumer-centric Polaroid 3D-printer brand into the European market in 2016.

According to Context, consumer curiosity for 3D printing remains, but there’s so far no killer app that makes a 3D printer a “must have” gadget.

While disillusioned, non-hobbyist home purchasers continue to find the technology “slow and complicated,” while educators recognize the longer-term implications of the growth in additive 3D-printing manufacturing, and continued to adopt the technology during 2015. Context expects this trend to continue in 2016 with more institutions from all levels of education purchasing desktop 3D printers, especially as the global focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects grows.

Context says that further validating education’s adoption of 3D printing is HP’s recent announcement of its Sprout Pro PC with built-in 3D scanning (for 3D printing), and which is primarily focused on education versus general computing.

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