This represents an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.7% from 2013 to 2018.

“This is a market with enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed,” said Canalys senior analyst, Tim Shepherd. 

“3D printing has become an established technology for producing prototypes and concept models of all manner of products. But as it matures, there is clear and substantial potential across numerous sectors, such as engineering and architecture, aerospace and defence, and medical (particularly in the fabrication of custom prosthetics), for 3D printing to have a dramatic impact within five years.”

Fast-evolving market

The value of the 3D printer market itself grew 109% in 2013 to US$711 million and is forecast to grow 79% in 2014 to hit US$1.3 billion. The market value is expected to grow to US$5.4 billion by 2018. 

“We are at the inflection point for 3D printing. It has now moved from a new and much-hyped, but largely unproven, manufacturing process to a technology with the ability to produce real, innovative, complex and robust products,” added  Shepherd. “This is a fast-evolving market, but it is still in its infancy.”