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China's Desktop 3D Printers Are Leading The 3D Printing Market

Nov 06, 2020

On November 4, 2020, Antarctic Bear learned that CONTEXT, a foreign market research company, recently released a report on the 3D printing market. "China" and "Desktop 3D Printers" are leading the global 3D printing market to recover from the COVID-19 epidemic.


Analysis report shows that during the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020, China's domestic industrial 3D printer shipments soared by 24%, while global desktop 3D printing system shipments increased by 68% during the same period.


In contrast, from the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020, CONTEXT data shows that Western companies’ revenues from industrial systems have fallen by 38%. These data show that, at least for now, the industrial recovery still relies on China, but the desktop 3D printing market continues to grow globally.


Chris Connery, Vice President of Global Research at CONTEXT, said: "As China resumes production in the second quarter of 2020, demand for industrial printers is also growing. Many Chinese suppliers report that compared with the first quarter, shipments in the second quarter Not only did the volume rise, but it also achieved higher shipments than in 2019."


 "Although global shipments have slightly improved from the first quarter to the second quarter, this is mainly due to the rebound in the Chinese market, which is still very low in the Western market."

3D printing shipments

△CONTEXT's market analysis shows that 3D printing shipments have recovered the fastest in the "China" and "desktop 3D printing system" markets. The picture is from UTEP/Keck


Is desktop 3D printing on the rise?

CONTEXT’s research tends to focus on shipments rather than sales. It portrays the increase in customer demand for desktop systems as a key recovery driver for the entire industry. In the report, desktop 3D printers are roughly divided into two categories: "professional" systems with prices ranging from US$2,500 to US$20,000, and "personal" printers that cost less than US$2,500.


Although Ultimaker did not go public and did not release complete financial data, they reported "double-digit" revenue growth in the first half of 2020. Therefore, although Ultimaker's claims cannot be verified, they do reflect the trend that engineers working at home are increasingly becoming customers of these professional machines.

Chinese 3D printer manufacturers

△ Chinese 3D printer manufacturers such as Huashu Hi-Tech have resumed revenue growth faster than their American or European counterparts, the picture is from Farsoon


PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) printing and shipment growth

 Similar to CONTEXT's professional system data, personal printer data also shows a surge in demand. From the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020, the growth on a quarterly basis was even greater, reaching 68%. Many low-cost machines are shipped through China's supply chain. China's recovery from the epidemic in the second quarter is likely to contribute to this increase in shipments.


Connery pointed out that the increase in shipments of desktop systems in the second quarter was mainly due to professionals who print PPE.


Many industrial companies stopped production during the shutdown period, but CONTEXT said that this led to a 27% decrease in the revenue of the system manufacturer, which does not explain all the problems.


 For example, SLM Solutions reported 90% revenue growth in the first half of 2020, reflecting the company’s strong order backlog and loyal customer base. Therefore, it can be concluded that desktop shipments will increase in the second quarter of 2020, but not all industrial system manufacturers are equally affected by COVID-19.


CONTEXT data shows that the recovery situation is uneven

CONTEXT's report also asserted that the demand for 3D printing has not recovered evenly on a global scale. According to report data, from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020, the total revenue of global new printer shipments increased by 5%, but most of this growth originated in China.


For example, the Chinese manufacturer Huashu Hi-Tech did not release its complete financial data, but released news that its revenue has doubled between the first quarter and the third quarter of 2020. Given that the epidemic in China eases earlier than other regions, Chinese companies may lead the long "U-shaped" recovery.


Regarding the demand for industrial systems in the Western market, CONTEXT surveyed a number of manufacturers, who said that throughout the third quarter they "renewed interest" in 3D printing technology. Although this proposed recovery depends to some extent on the epidemic, the data also shows that the last quarter usually accounts for 29% of annual shipments.