3D Printing continues to be one of the most promising technologies – and there is a new study suggesting part of the growth will take place for consumers’ at-home use.
Juniper Research has predicted that sales of 3D printers for home-use will be more than 1 million units by 2018. This compares to just about 44,000 units in 2014, U.K.-based Juniper Research said.
"Educating and motivating the public on the idea of 3D printing, to create everyday objects is critical for the long-term success of this segment,” Nitin Bhas, a Juniper analyst, said in a statement. “Killer applications and content will be the key drivers – something unique and personalized, which is not available in stores already.”
Looking ahead past the next five years, Juniper predicts shipments of 3D printers will increase “significantly.”
The firm says the longer-trend will be because of more applications, and more printing vendors getting involved in the sector, such as HP. The veteran printing vendors have not yet showed “their cards” to the sector. In addition, “niche” and “novelty” applications are seeing increases. Hasbro and Hersheys are among the 3D printing vendors which are working on unique applications for consumer uses.
As more vendors, especially the more-established ones, get involved in the sector, “This…will be coupled with a more attractive pricing proposition for consumers,” Juniper said in the statement about its report, “Consumer 3D Printing & Scanning: Service Models, Devices & Opportunities 2014-2018.”
Looking ahead, too, Juniper said consumer interest, and “possibly hype” will be generated for new products and applications.
Among the other companies cited in other recent studies on 3D printing overall are Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation and the ExOne Company. Among the promising sectors for 3D printing are: consumer products and electronics, auto, medical, industrial and aerospace.
One major factor that will increase adoption of 3D printing is likely lower costs of the technology and the development of new 3D printing materials.
Edited by Alisen Downey