3D Printing Sector 2023 – Adjusts Your Expectations for 3D Printing

Global quarterly sales of industrial 3D printers decline, but revenue rises again

to draft05/23/2023

In the final quarter of 2022, global sales of 3D printers continued the trend established at the beginning of the year, with volumes remaining stable or declining. While industrial unit sales declined, system revenue rose again due to rising inflationary prices and a shift at the top end of the market toward more efficient (and higher-priced) industrial metalworking machines, according to International Consulting Reference.

As end-market buyers continue to face the challenge of global inflation and fears of a regional recession, 3D printer vendors around the world have shifted their focus from market expansion to profitability and set a single target for 2023. Realized our expectations for single-digit unit sales growth.

industrial system

In the industrial category (accounting for 57% of global systems revenue in Q4 2022), sales were down 13% year-over-year, but revenue grew 7% as average prices rose 23%.

While this was partly due to inflation, increased demand for larger powder bed fusion systems also played a role. Between polymer-based and metal-based systems — which together account for 94% of total units in the category — industrial polymer shipments fell 19% year-over-year in the quarter, while metal shipments fell 11%.

Earlier, industrial metal sales posted eight consecutive quarters of growth, driven by powder bed fusion systems and a pick-up in sales to China. These latest figures show declining sales for both Western and Chinese companies, and a 5% drop in metal powder bed fusion printer sales. However, sales of new high-volume multi-laser systems from vendors such as Velo3D and SLM Solutions (recently acquired by Nikon) continued to grow, resulting in a 26% increase in total revenue for Printers. While the previously red-hot region of China saw a 5% year-on-year sales decline, it remains the world’s largest market, the destination for 39% of global industrial metal 3D printers. The most worrying change in the fourth quarter of 2022 was a 22% year-over-year decline in sales volume in the United States.


Graph 1. Industrial 3D Printing Systems: Worldwide Sales and Revenue. Source: Context.

For the full year, industrial polymer printer sales fell 10% year-over-year, while metal printer sales rose 5%. Within the metals category, powder bed fusion printers, which accounted for 75% of all industrial metal systems, saw good demand and were less hampered by their own supply chain constraints, driving sales growth of 12% during the year . While polymers and metal printers dominate the industrial segment, accounting for 57% and 39% of the market, respectively, two new material categories that saw notable sales growth during the year were ceramics and composites. Although no category exceeded a 2% share, ceramic printer sales grew 34% on the strength of vendors such as 3DCeram, Carima, Lithoz, Nano Dimension (following the acquisition of Admatec), Xjet and others, while Markforged grew industrial composites. Helped create a new subcategory thanks to increasing sales of your FX20.

midrange system

Mid-range 3D printers costing between $20,000 and $100,000 provided a bright spot in the Q4 2022 market, as 20% more of these machines were sold globally than in Q4 2021. Price increases have displaced some existing printers in this category, but most of the growth was organic and due to new product adoption. Stratasys remained well ahead of the competition and sold 28% of all printers in this price range, but Formlabs made a notable entry into the category with its advanced Fuse SLS Polymer Powder Bed Fusion line and moved up to second place.

Other new systems contributing to category growth include Stratasys’ Origin platform and UnionTech’s expansion of its DLP VAT light-curing platform, as well as products from Sinterit, Roboz, Xact Metal and Desktop Metal’s Desktop Health line. Well-established companies that go beyond their initial or core technology to offer solutions for other materials or use different processes in this way have driven the expansion of the 3D printer market time and time again and almost Has always led a continuous development.


Chart 2: Mid-range 3D printers: Worldwide sales by model/series (new models highlighted). Source: Context.


The commercial price range includes sales of 3D printers priced between $2,500 and $20,000. In the fourth quarter of 2022, sales of this type fell for the third quarter in a row, this time by 12% year-over-year. Revenues were more or less flat, mainly as a result of inflation. Ultimaker, the market leader in this category, reported a 26% year-over-year decline in total sales of products in this price range (combining MakerBot products that fall in this price range with its Ultimaker-branded products), but There was good initial success with new products in other price ranges. Of the top 5 vendors, Raise3D was the best performer in the fourth quarter, with a 32% increase in the number of printers sold. Systems using LCD-based vat light-curing technologies, such as Nexa3D’s LSPc technology, were the winners of the year, with 7% more machines sold in 2022 than in 2021.

Staff & Kit & Hobby

Sales of personal 3D printers fell 2% in the fourth quarter of 2022 from a year earlier, while revenue grew 16%. Kit and hobby sales grew 15% in the quarter, and Creality remains the dominant market share in this low-end segment. Although overall consumer spending in the United States (the largest end market for this low-end, with North America accounting for 40% of the category’s collective sales) was significantly weaker in the fourth quarter, sales rates in the category were slightly higher than they Better were expected in the field. While business-oriented system vendors can better cope with inflation by raising prices, many of those selling the smallest, cheapest printers are finding it increasingly difficult to make money. As a result, some high-profile companies have exited the market in this period, such as XYZprinting, which sold part of its SLS business line to Nexa3D and announced its general exit from the 3D printer market. Other, more regional brands such as South Korean Sindoh and US-based Dremel (formerly offered by Bosch) scaled back, sold or diverted their efforts from the 3D printing market.


Although new printer sales forecasts for 2023 have been lowered, revenue growth is expected to return well above unit growth. It looks like inflation will drive prices higher and the trend towards higher end metal powder bed fusion machines doesn’t seem to end.

The outlook for low to mid-single digit unit sales growth applies across all major price categories, with industrial printers set to outperform (Sales are forecast to grow 7% and revenue is expected to grow 7%. 19% ). Although 2023 is expected to be a difficult year, there is long-term momentum: 3D printing is still seen by many industries as a viable means of local production to ease future supply chain issues. As a result, system revenue is forecast to grow at 28% CAGR (compound annual growth) for the major industrial printer market over the next five years.

Price Range for Fully Assembled Finished Products: Industrial: Over $100,000; Medium: $20,000 to $100,000 (moved from Category Design to Q1-23); Professional: $2,500 to $20,000; Employee: <$2,500; Kits and hobby printers require assembly by the buyer

Industrial polymer printer sales fell 10% year-on-year, while metal printer sales rose 5%

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