3D printing to reach a million homes by 2018

3d printing3D Printing is set to reach around one million homes by 2018, according to research from leading hi-tech analysts Juniper Research.

Juniper Research, who offer consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary to the global hi-tech communications sector, have revealed the incredible predicted growth of 3D printing – with 3D printers thought to rise to one million from just over an estimated 44,000 this year.

According to new report, Consumer 3D Printing & Scanning: Service Models, Devices & Opportunities 2014-2018, it is noted that it still very early days for 3D printing, with the technology yet to really capture the imagination of consumers.  However, while shipments are at relatively low levels currently, Juniper expects a large increase beyond the five-year period.

The predicted growth is expected to be a result of an ever widening scope of applicability, driven by the entry and growth of the more established printing vendors, such as HP. This in turn will be coupled with a more attractive pricing proposition for consumers.

Also, there is a mention of the need to truly discover “killer apps”, along with the appropriate eco-system of software, apps and materials that will allow for genuine excitement over the potential of 3D printing.

The established printing vendors have yet to ‘show their cards’, but niche and novelty applications are on the increase. For instance, companies such as Hasbro and Hersheys are working with 3D printing vendors to develop unique applications for consumer use.

The report also observed that with the widespread technological awareness among consumers, it is now much easier to generate interest, and possibly hype, for new products and applications when they are finally introduced.

Report author Nitin Bhas added: “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. Killer applications and content will be the key drivers – something unique and personalised, which is not available in stores already”.

Midwich have recently announced that they are to offer three-year warranties on their 3D printers, making them more accessible to consumers.