Earlier in January, International Data Corporation (IDC), the world’s leading provider of market intelligence, forecasted in its 3D Printing Spending Guide that worldwide spending on 3D printing will grow to nearly $29B in 2020. Recently, the French 3D Printing specialist Sculpteo illustrated the same trend in its annual State of 3D Printing for the third consecutive year. The report is based on a comprehensive survey with a sample of more than 1000 respondents from Europe (60%), America (30%), Asia & Oceania (9%) and Africa (1%).
US, Western Europe and APAC together lead the trend
According to IDC’s 3D Printing Spending Guide, US generates a forecast of roughly 15% of worldwide 3D printing revenue during 2015-2020, while Western Europe, APAC (excluding Japan) and Japan together will deliver 50% of total revenues. This year’s Sculpteo survey saw a 4% increase in Asian respondents, highlighting a growing adoption of 3D printing in Asian companies.
47% saw a larger ROI than last year
The 2017 Sculpteo survey respondents mainly come from 4 sectors: consumer goods, industrial goods, high technologies and services, and among them 47% saw larger Return of Investment than last year. Power Users (aficionados) experienced higher ROI compared with general users because in most cases Power Users tend to invest in more advanced printers and technologies. 72% respondents expect their investment in 3D printing to increase in 2018 and will keep increasing in the following years, and according to IDC’s 3D Printing Spending Guide, “Worldwide Spending on 3D Printing Forecast to Grow at a Compound Annual Rate of 22.3% to Nearly $29 Billion in 2020”.
Product development is the top priority
Product development is the top priority for using 3D printing, states Sculpteo. It is used for accelerating product development, making customized goods and limited series, and producing spare parts at low costs.
3D printing in Consumer Goods sector
According to Sculpteo, Consumer Goods sector remains dynamic for 3D printing, with a significant increase (62%) in expenses versus the average (49%). 22% of Consumer Goods companies use 3D printing for production purpose. It is worth noting that more than average, Consumer Goods companies consider 3D printing as a competitive advantage (94% versus 90%).
Technical talents are in large demand
Compared with last year’s Sculpteo report, more companies are aware of the importance of expertise, popularizing 3D printing technical talents in the job market. 90% of the talents sought are technical ones, which means 3D printing industry is getting more professional. One would only be regarded as a 3D printing expert with a minimal five-year experience, the message from this standard proving 3D printing a highly skilful industry that requires solid technical background as any other industries: designers, engineers, operators, etc. It can also explain why people are showing less interest in buying a 3D printer but prefer to use external services. Why is it not easy to 3D print your own parts at home?
Plastics remain the most used materials
Used by 88% of the Sculpteo respondents, plastics are still the most used materials since they are affordable and possess a wide range of colours and properties. Besides, it is notable that multicolour sandstone is attracting new users and metal is also believed to have great potential.
FDM becomes the most used technology
Technology-wise, Sculpteo noticed that this year FDM exceeded SLS to have become the most used technology. FDM technology is the most common technology in 3D printing, and is known as a simple-to-use and widespread technology. Want to know why FDM is the best option for final products? Read our article What Is 3D Printing (Why FDM is the best option for final products).