HP Number-Two in Global Industrial-Printer Market Share

Shipments of 3D printers designed for industrial applications and priced at $100,000 and higher were up by 8 percent in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to research from London-based market-research firm Context.

This key sector – which accounted for almost 70 percent of all 3D printer revenues for the period – saw even more impressive shipment growth of 12 percent on a trailing twelve-month (TTM) basis.

“The increase came as a surprise given the headwinds many vendors reported in the second half of the year such as reduced demand from the struggling automotive sector, sluggish European economies and a generally weak global industrial manufacturing market all impacted the bottom line of many companies in the third quarter,” said Chris Connery, vice president of Global Analysis and Research at CONTEXT.

“Excellent Growth” for HP Inc.

In the Industrial polymer 3D-printer market, HP (now number-two in global shipments) saw “excellent growth,” shipping 347 percent more printers in third-quarter 2019 than in third-quarter 2018, as it continued to roll out its more affordable color-capable units, as well a the newest iteration of its most advanced, highest-end, production-focused models in volume. The Chinese domestic market also grew, mostly thanks to leading Chinese vendor UnionTech.

While Industrial metal printers made up just 32 percent of unit shipments in the class over this period, they accounted for just over 51 percent of revenues.

According to Context, metal 3D printing is one of the fastest growing additive manufacturing segments and has seen shipments grow at an average rate of 30 percent over the last two years. However, the dominant technology – powder bed fusion – began to struggle in the second half of 2019. In the third quarter, 19-percent fewer metal powder bed fusion 3D printers shipped than in the same quarter in the previous year, with market leaders EOS and GE Additive both seeing weaker shipments not only for the quarter but for the trailing 12-months as well.

Even so, Context says that aggregated shipments of metal 3D printers grew by 11 percent year-over-year as a different technology began to take center stage, driven by Desktop Metal and Markforged. The new crop of material extrusion metal 3D Printers – which saw year-over-year shipment increases of 43 percent – addresses new markets for prototyping and entry-level metal printing. Since many of these markets are outside the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors that currently use powder bed fusion machines, the growth in shipments of extrusion models was not related to the decline in those of the other type of machine.

There was good growth in North America and China during third-quarter 2019 for industrial 3D printers, and year-over-year increases in Industrial 3D printer shipments were 22 percent and 36 percent, respectively, while the global number-two market, Western Europe, saw shipments fall by 28 percent. Sales in this sector of the market tend to be more provincial than in other industries: there is less East–West trade because of logistics (most Industrial 3D printers are very large and very heavy) and because of less-than-favorable global trade conditions, the latter of which make it difficult for emerging technologies like 3D printing to flourish. These trends held true in the third quarter, when Chinese vendors flourished in domestic China, while U.S. and European vendors again saw most of their business come from the West.

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