Introduction: 286% Growth, but did you even know?

Consumer-oriented 3D printers (printers priced at less than $5,000) have been averaging 286% growth between 2007 and 2012, but unless you were at Wohlers Associates you probably didn’t know exactly how quickly this market is growing. 3D printers targeting hobbyists, schools, and everyday consumers is a booming market that began seven years ago, but with manufactures keeping their lips tight, only industry insiders understand the true value behind this market.

For outsiders there are two approaches to estimating the size of the market. One way is to purchase Wohlers Associates‘ annual report on additive manufacturing (3D printing) which is by far the most comprehensive report available. However, unless you are able to fork out $495 for the report, then until recently you were on your own to figure out the size of this market.

The second method which I have attempted involves aggregating all the information freely available online into one report that will reveal three questions people have been longing to know:

  1. How many printers have been sold thus far?
  2. How many printers can we expect to sell into the near future?
  3. What is the current market share breakdown?

This report will string together a trail of information made freely available by Wohlers Associates, 3D manufactures, and bloggers writing about the market. Alone these pieces of information only give you a single snapshot in time, but strung together we can get a larger picture of the market and where it is going. It is important to note both historical and forecast numbers are estimates I have calculated as no official industry  numbers are available online hence the reason behind constructing this report. With that in mind, let’s get started.


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