I have recently presented an opinion of Terry Wohlers – a leading analyst specialised in researching of market aspects of 3D printing industry in the world – about its future and development. Wohlers mentioned, that he sees a great potential of additive technologies in industry and specialistic applications, but he doesn’t see a chance for success of consumer market. Meanwhile, in a recent report of  PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) about perspective of development of 3D printing industry, the consumer market is an important player. So, who is exactly right?

PwC is a consulting giant, which analyses all of areas of current market economy. In its report about 3D printing market, company’s analysts show its great potential in next years. On one hand, they claim the statements of Wohlers about boom of industrial use of 3D printing, but on the other hand, they stress a huge potential of single users.

According to PwC, in the last year 11 mld $ was spent on 3D printers, and till 2019 this amount will grow to 27 mld $. The main engine will be industry (automotive, air force, jeweller’s craft) or medicine. The consumer market will also have a crucial meaning and when we consider recent reports about sales of 3D printers in 2015,  it seems to be real.

71,1% of American productive companies use 3D printers in their operative activities. 31,4% of the companies uses additive technologies for quick prototyping and 6,6% of them to create final products. What is more, in the next 5 years, this factor may grow to 42%!

If it becomes a fact, it will be a real revolution. An area, which can be entirely change is production of spare parts. A specifics of production for consumer use will also change because of a need for personalised products created for order.

Coming back to PwC report, the discrepancy in judging of the consumer market with the opinion of Terry Wohlers, looks interesting. He makes researches of 3D printing market, from the really beginning, so his statements should be taken into consideration.  On the other hand, such a big company like PwC, wouldn’t have published trumped up analyses. The current reports about sales of 3D printers in the world show, that PwC is rather right – it is possible, that Wohlers doesn’t appreciate their potential.

In the next years we will see, who was right. I don’t want to underestimate the potential of consumer market, but I am aware of the fact, that the low-budget FDM will have an essential influence on the development. It is possible, that we are waiting for a product, which will change everything. It may be OLO or consumer version of Stratasys J750, or something new…

Source: www.3dprintingindustry.com

Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

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