Revenue from 3D printing services will increase during 2022


CATEGORY: Manufacturers and Distributors BRAND: CONTEXT

According to CONTEXT, during the third quarter of 2022 systems revenue increased by +14%. Shipments of industrial printers grew 2%, while those of metal printers increased 4%.


“While large disparities in unit shipments were observed across various printer price classes*, all segments experienced an increase in system revenue over the prior year,” said Chris Connery, director of global research at CONTEXT. “Unit volume growth in the period was led by the designer price class with unit volume up 29% thanks primarily to industry stalwarts launching products in new guises.”


Shipments of industrial printers increased 2%, while those of metal printers increased 4% and those of polymer industrial printers decreased 2%. Professional, personal, and kits & hobby shipments were down 7%, 11% and 3%, over the prior year due to a combination of supply and demand issues. Industry growth reports were therefore more related to revenue than volume.


Inflationary pressures around the world led to same-model price increases across all classes, helping to shore up revenue. In a separate trend and also driving industry revenue, the industrial metal segment also benefited again from a shift in demand towards more efficient and productive machines, such as Metal Powder Bed Fusion models with more lasers and higher efficiency than allow higher yields.


Chart 1: Changes in Global 3D Printer System Shipments by Price Class: Q3-22 and YTD Q1-Q3 22



Unit shipments in the period were characterized by (1) strong growth in metal directed energy deposition systems thanks in part to the emergence of new low-end manufacturer Meltio, (2) continued growth in demand for metal powder bed fusion systems, especially in China, and (3) increased VAT light-curing shipments thanks to UnionTech recovery. UnionTech actually drove most of the shipment growth in Q3 2022, bouncing back from the Covid lockdowns of the previous quarter (when shipments fell 38% year-on-year) to see 62% more printers than in Q3 2021, a period in which China was not only the largest market (35% of the world's industrial 3D printers shipped there), but also experienced higher growth (34%) than North America or Western Europe.


“Many high-profile 3D printer companies made layoffs as industry dynamics changed from those that prevailed earlier in the year,” says Chris Connery. “Some faced supply chain challenges that hampered their ability to ship more units, while others suffer from stagnant demand. Amid fears of a coming recession, some end markets are, as a precaution, reducing capital spending until global macroeconomic conditions stabilize."


The EOS manufacturer, which has one of the highest global system revenues in its class, exemplified the trend of revenue growing much faster than unit shipments, enjoying system revenue growth of 35% vs. only 1% increase in unit shipments. Other top 10 companies that saw strong system revenue growth in Q3 2022 included UnionTech, HBD, SLM Solutions, Velo3D and Desktop Metal.



Chart 2: Global Industrial System Shipments by Material: Q3-21 and Q3-22



Shipments of designer printing systems increased significantly in Q3 2022 at 29%, bringing YTD growth to 22%. This was primarily due to net sales of new products in the category, including the Formlabs Fuse 1+30W (already the fourth best-selling product in this price category), UnionTech's new DLP system, Stratasys' Origin P3, the Photocentric LC Magna and the Fiber System Desktop Metal. New models accounted for 15% of shipments in the category with just two products, the Fuse 1+30W and Origin P3, accounting for 9% of the category total.



In the Professional price class, shipments were down 7% compared to Q3 2021: FDM/FFF printer shipments were down 8% and SLA printer shipments were down 21% year over year. FDM shipments were relatively flat over YTD through Q3, with just 1% fewer product shipments than the same period in 2021, but not SLA shipments, which were down 19% from 2021. UltiMaker (the newly combined MakerBot and Ultimaker), which produces both professional and personal printers, had a 36% market share in this price class, but collectively saw unit shipments drop 14% in the price class. price. Together, UltiMaker and Formlabs (which also posted reduced unit shipments) accounted for 51% of global professional system revenue in Q3 2022. New to the category this quarter was Nexa3D, which is now increasing shipments of their XiP printers.


Staff & Kit & Hobby

Growth in these low-end segments has slowed significantly since the height of the pandemic, with the Personal and Kit & Hobby segments continuing to be dominated by manufacturer Creality. Personal shipments fell 11% in the period. Kit and hobby shipments were down 3% in the period, down 10% from Q3 2020 (the height of the pandemic), and generally flat (up 2%) over the past twelve months . One significant bright spot is the rise of Bambu Lab which, in Q3 2022, began shipping against its successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $7.1 million against 5,513 pre-orders at ~$1,200 each. Only two previous collaborative 3D printer initiatives have improved on this: Anker (8.9 million) and Snapmaker ($7.8 million).



Forecasts for 2023 have turned cautious as fears of regional recessions loom large and concerns that easing China's zero-Covid policy could reduce domestic demand and lead to further supply chain disruption.


However, forecasts for key end markets (including aerospace) and for key modalities, particularly powder bed fusion, remain strong. BLT and Eplus3D joined SLM Solutions and Velo3D to announce new large format multi-laser metal systems to help meet this growing demand. Now that HP has fully launched its Metal Jet models and GE Additive is looking to commercialize its Series 3 products, the Metal Binder Jetting machines may also help make 3D printing a more mainstream manufacturing process over the next year.


“As seen in 2022, growth is expected to be much higher in system revenue than unit shipments, and revenue is now projected to grow 19% across all technologies for the year vs. an expectation of unit volume growth of only 9%,” added Chris. Connery.


* Price classes for fully assembled finished goods: Personal <$2,500; Professional $2,500–$20,000; Design $20,000–$100,000; Industrial $100,000+ Kit & Hobby printers require assembly by purchaser.


CONTEXT’s market intelligence, performance benchmarks and opportunity analysis empower clients to optimise operations and accelerate tomorrow’s revenues. With over 35 years of industry partnership and experience reporting on large datasets, CONTEXT delivers analytics at all points in the value chain, providing clients with actionable insights rooted in concrete data and a profound understanding of customer needs. CONTEXT is headquartered in London, with over 300 staff across the world, and in 2019 was recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by Great Place to Work.






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