By now, it should come as a surprise to no one, but the 3D printer market is on fire. While a year or two ago, printer options were limited, today the selection is quite vast, with cheaper, more advanced models coming out all of the time. We've even seen a couple of Kickstarter projects which have promised units costing under $500 - pricing that's far easier to stomach than the $10,000 quotes we saw really not too long ago.
Canalys' latest report highlights that the 3D printer market isn't slowing down, and much of the continued growth owes its thanks to regular consumers. The firm notes that in 2013, 43% of units sold were to end-users, a figure I find pretty impressive given the arguably high cost-of-entry. Consumer use has continued to grow straight through to Q1 of this year, with that 43% becoming 46%, with the total number of units shipped calculated at 26,800.
During Q1, Canalys estimates that 67% of 3D printers sold were priced at under $10,000, with the firm admitting that many were priced well under that - especially thanks to models derived from crowdfunding projects. A mere 1% of the shipments were for industrial-grade models priced at over $100,000.
Canalys doesn't see the rapid growth of 3D printers waning, with a bet that they'll become completely common in a decade:
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. Within 10 years, 3D printers will be common household items in developed markets, and these developments are moving us in the right direction.
I'm sure I'm not alone in being excited to see that happen.