Wohlers Associates, Inc. an independent consulting group has released its annual industry report which shows that industry revenue from additive manufacturing products and services were $2.2 billion last year. This is an increase of 28.6% over 2011.
Their 2012 report stated growth of 29.4% in 2011 and 26.4% over its 24-year history, with global sales expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2015 and $6.5 billion by 2019. The U.S still leads the world in AM installations with 38%, Japan at 9.7%, closely followed by Germany on 9.4% and China with 8.7%.
One segment of the market that seems be have cooled significantly recently is the low-cost (under $5,000) “personal” 3D printer market segment. It averaged a mighty growth of 346% each year from 2008 through 2011. But in 2012, dropped to a lowly 46.3%, according to Wohlers Associates research. Most of these machines are being sold to hobbyists, do-it-yourselfers, engineering students, and educational institutions
Although this is good news for the 3D printing industry in general the 2013 report also states that the U.S maybe losing its dominance of the AM industry. They state that 10-years ago, America dominated the AM market for industrial level machines with 10 companies, compared with only seven in the whole of Europe, seven in Japan and three in China.
The rest of the world has increased investment in AM and today there are 16 companies in Europe, seven in China, just five in the U.S and two in Japan. Many of the U.S companies have merged or been swallowed by larger competitors such as Stratasys and Objet.
President Obama has seen this dominance decline and launched the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute last year and in his State of the Union address in January threw his weight behind 3D printing and increased government investment in the technology.