When 3D printing first became a reality, some insiders dismissed it as a fad that would soon disappear. Current market trends seem to indicate that they’re wrong.
At the end of 2013, the global market value of the 3D printing industry was approximately $2.5 billion, $700 million of which was generated by actual printers. An additional $1.5 billion came from materials and services.
Canalys, a leading telecom and tech market research firm, predicts that the 3D printing market will experience explosive growth over the next four years. The firm anticipates that by 2018, 3D printing equipment will generate $5.4 billion in sales, with materials and services producing a further $10.8 billion.
Canalys expects that over the next few years, 3D printing technologies will improve dramatically while prices come down. This is consistent with trends seen across the tech industry over the past two decades. While senior Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd conceded that the 3D printing industry is quickly evolving and somewhat unpredictable, he also said that major players like HP could completely change the landscape.
“Expect to see new major entrants making a significant impact in the industry in the coming years, including giants like HP,” Shepherd said. “As barriers fall, new use cases emerge, the technology improves and new entrants join, this is a market that will look very different in five years’ time.”
A forward-thinking iPhone app development company could position itself to cash in on the expected growth in 3D printing. As Shepherd noted, evolving technologies will lead to new applications, which could in turn create an untold bounty of new opportunities for app developers.
Houston iPhone app development professionals who remain solely focused on smartphones and other mobile devices could miss out on big opportunities. As the worldwide smartphone market approaches saturation, technologies like 3D printing could become the next frontier for app developers.
Tags: 3d printing, app technology, Canalys, emerging technology, hp, photo 3d print, printing