European 3D-Printer Market Forecast to Hit $3.6 Billion this Year

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HP Inc. and Siemens 3D-printed surgical cutting guide.

European purchases of 3D printers, materials, software, and related services are expected to total $3.6 billion in 2017. According to the latest update to the Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), the combined spending on 3D printing for Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe will experience a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3 percent, with revenues reaching $7.4 billion in 2022.

Western Europe delivered 83 percent of total European 3D printing revenues in 2017 and will remain by far the largest contributor in the wider European region, growing at a CAGR of 14.4 percent for 2017–2022. Central and Eastern Europe will be the fastest-growing region, however, with a CAGR of 19.1 percent for 2017–2022.

According to IDC, the 3D-printing market is evolving rapidly, with the European market continuing to show good momentum and 2018 proving to be a turning point.

Julio Vial, research manager for IDC’s European Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions group, commented: “3D printing has the potential to expand the manufacturing industry, shift distribution locally, and implement on-demand production, reducing unnecessary inventories and shipping costs. It will enable mass customization and printing of different products while reducing costs and recycling excess printer powder. Product weight can also be reduced, and fewer tools will be needed because 3D printers can replace some of them.”

Though 3D-printing hardware generated the largest spending in 2017, the focus on materials will drive associated spending in the coming years, with a CAGR of 20 percent for the forecast period, exceeding the hardware component. Services will remain a key part of the market, as consulting and system integration services are a critical component of the 3D-printing solution deployment.

Looking at vertical segments, discrete manufacturing accounted for more than half of total spending on 3D printing in the wider region in 2017, and will continue to be the largest investor by industry, with a CAGR of 14.5 percent for 2017–2022. Within discrete manufacturing, the automotive and aerospace sub-industries are the biggest contributors (and also the most mature sub-industries), while the medical sector is expected to develop further in the next few years, with a projected 19.5 percent CAGR in the forecast period.

Other verticals, such as healthcare and professional services, are already using 3D printing, with spending at over 10 percent of the total market. Healthcare providers in particular are expected to grow their spending in 3D printing, with a CAGR of 20.9 percent from 2017 to 2022, as these organizations will adopt internally and develop direct skills and capabilities around 3D printing.

The use cases that generated the largest revenues for 3D printing in 2017 in Europe were prototypes ($755 million), aftermarket parts ($522 million), and architectural designs/models ($353 million). In 2022, prototypes and aftermarket parts will remain the top-two use cases, followed by dental objects and medical support objects. Over the forecast period, the fastest-growing use cases will be tissue/organ/bone, dental objects, and specialty food, with compound annual growth rates above 20 percent.

Western Europe is driving spending in the wider region: as shown in the latest European Vertical Market Survey, more than 17 percent of respondent organizations are adopting or planning to adopt 3D printing in 2018.

Gabriele Roberti, research manager at IDC’s Customer Insights and Analysis, commented: “In Western Europe, discrete manufacturing is clearly the largest industry regarding spending on 3D printing solutions, but healthcare and professional services are continuing to experiment and are embracing the technology as new use cases and materials come to market. The top revenue-generating use cases in Western Europe in 2017 were prototypes, aftermarket parts (both driven by the automotive industry), and architectural designs/models. In the forecast period, medical/healthcare-related use cases will show the biggest growth and, in 2022, dental objects and medical support objects will become the third-largest use cases in Western Europe.

In Central and Eastern Europe, 3D printing is said to be gaining in popularity too. The technology is starting to transform many industries in the region — the portfolio of 3D printing use cases is already vast, is evolving quickly, and differs from industry to industry.

“There is a growing number of start-ups, many of them using EU funding, specializing in 3D printing services. EU funds are the main driver for this technology in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Evelin Stoev, senior analyst at IDC. “However, many traditional manufacturing companies, being locked in the old ways of doing things, do not have time to experiment with new technologies like 3D printing, nor to research emerging use cases in the market — and this is the major inhibitor to faster penetration of this technology in the region. This means that major gaps in 3D printing experience relative to Western Europe and especially the U.S. and Japan will be hard to close in the near future.

IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide quantifies the opportunity for 3D printers, which enable the creation of objects and shapes made through material that is laid down successively upon itself from a digital model or file. Revenue data is available for more than 15 use cases across 20 industries, with a further split in sub-industries, in eight regions. Data is also available for 3D-printing hardware, materials, software, and services. The comprehensive spending guide was designed to help IT decision makers to clearly understand the industry-specific scope and direction of 3D printing expenditures today and over the next five years.

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