3D printing has been all the rage this past year. And that’s now backed up by figures that show that this technology is gaining traction. According to Canalys, 26,800 3D printers were shipped worldwide in Q1.
What’s interesting is that while most were purchased by enterprises, 46 percent were bought by consumers, up from 43 percent last year.
“While enterprise engagement will continue to grow, it looks to be the consumer space that will drive shipments in the near future. We are already seeing significant numbers of early technology adopters and hobbyists investing in relatively cheap 3D printers. As prices continue to fall, the technology improves and use cases are tested, this trend is set to continue,” said Tim Shepherd, Senior Analyst of Canalys.
So, falling prices have helped to spur consumer take up rate. That has much to do with crowdfunding, which has made low-cost 3D printers more easily available.
“The sheer number of ultra-low-cost printers, typically from innovative and aspiring start-up companies, which are finding investment through crowdfunding sites, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is impressive. While they are often limited in the size of objects they can print, the materials they can use and the finish they can provide, affordable printers will continue to drive interest and adoption in the fledgling consumer market, giving vendors an opportunity to upsell down the line,” said Shepherd.
Canalys estimates that 67 percent of 3D printers shipped in Q1 were priced at under US$10,000.
“In reality, there is a good number of basic printer models coming to market at sub-US$1,000 price points, and some crowdfunding projects promise sub-US$500 prices. As competitive pressures in the market increase, various technology patents lapse, and vendors are eager to fulfill interest and demand, falling prices are making printers more affordable for more consumers,” said Joe Kempton, Research Analyst of Canalys.