The 3D printing materials market is fragmented moderately with 3D Systems, Inc., Stratasys Ltd., Voxeljet AG, and ExOne GmbH accounting for around 70.0% of the total market in 2013. Intense rivalry exists among manufacturers with respect to product range and price, suggests Transparency Market Research. Thus, to achieve higher margins, various companies are acquiring other companies or forming strategic partnerships. Merger activities are also high among regional or local firms so as to increase their market shares. The degree of competition is likely to remain high in the coming years.
The 3D printing materials market is at its nascent stage and thus, a number of regional players are expected to enter the market in the coming years, indicating robust growth in the near future. Despite being pitted against existing players with a strong customer-base, the threat of new entrants is expected to be high in the future, states a TMR analyst.
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Rising Need for 3D Printing in Educational Sector Boosts Demand for 3D Printing Materials
3D printing technology has applications in the automotive, architecture, electronics, consumer goods, education, and medical sectors. The decreasing cost of 3D printers is one of the main reasons behind their extensive use in various sectors. Additionally, 3D printers find various applications in the military and defense sectors, which will heighten the demand for 3D printing materials.
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Governments of various nations have increased their funding and are willing to experiment with 3D printing technology. For instance, the Chinese government has announced US$6.5 mn as research funding for developing key 3D printing technologies. The Japanese government has announced that it will make use of 3D printers in educational settings. Similarly, the government in South Korea is expected to have a huge demand for 5800 3D printers by 2017 for 5,865 schools across the nation. Thus, there will be a heightened demand for 3D printing materials.
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High Cost of Materials Restricting Wide-scale Adoption of 3D Printing Materials
The manufacturing of 3D printing materials requires the use of materials such as metals, plastics, and ceramics. However, it is not possible to print a large variety of products from these aforementioned materials without additional preparation before being used in a 3D printing machine. This acts as a challenge for players in the market. Further, the cost of 3D printing materials is very high, which can cause huge losses to manufacturers during prototyping operations. The high material cost also reduces the profit margin for manufacturers.
Demand for 3D Scanners to Open New Growth Avenues
The 3D printing industry is continuously re-inventing itself. Some companies have developed 3D scanners capable of scanning objects in 3D. The availability of 3D printers and scanners is encouraging customers to scan products at home and print them. The demand for 3D scanners is expected to grow in the future as an increasing number of consumers need to create their own CAD files. This will also increase the demand for 3D printing materials and open new doors for companies in the market.
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North America to Lead in Global 3D Printing Materials Market
By product, the plastics segment is expected to lead the market in the future and account for 56.8% of the global printing materials market. Electronics and consumer products was the largest application segment in 2013. On the basis of geography, the global printing materials market was led by North America in 2013, followed by Europe, and it is expected that the former will continue to lead the market in the future.
According to the report, the global market opportunity in 3D printing materials will rise from US$450 mn in 2013 to US$1.4 bn by 2020, expanding at an 18.0% CAGR between 2014 and 2020.
This information is based on the findings of a report published by Transparency Market Research titled “3D Printing Materials Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2014 – 2020.”