3D printer shipments are expected to more than double every year between 2016 and 2019, by which time worldwide shipments are set to reach more than 5.6 million.
New data from analyst Gartner reports that shipments of 3D printers will reach 496,475 units in 2016, up 103 per cent from the predicted 244,533 units in 2015.
Pete Basiliere, research VP at Gartner, said: “Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3D printer technologies are driving both enterprise and consumer demand, with unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers increasing significantly.
"The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to broad-based, global market of enterprises and consumers."
Seven technologies make up the 3D printer market, with material extrusion set to lead 2015 shipments at 232,336 units, increasing to 5,527,493 units in 2019 (97.5 per cent of the total), due to the sale of low cost printers.
According to Gartner, worldwide shipments by price brand are affected by the 3D printer technologies represented within them.
For example, in particular are the up-to-$1,000 and $1,001 to $2,500 bands, which are dominated by material extrusion devices.
3D printer products costing less than $1,000 will make up 25.5 per cent of the total of these two price brands in 2015, but will grow by 40.7 per cent of the $1,000 to $2,500 range by 2019.
"Enterprise 3D printers can not only prototype new products and produce tools and fixtures that are used to make other items, but also print high-quality, short-run finished goods,” added Basiliere.
“This multifaceted ability is driving their growth worldwide."
If Gartner’s predictions are correct, we may start to see 3D printers cropping up in more homes, schools and businesses worldwide.
Analyst Context previously revealed that the number of desktop/personal 3D printers shipped worldwide in Q2 2015 was 25 per cent more than in Q2 2014.
Plus, now that distributors including Exertis and Ingram Micro are tapping into the trend by boosting their portfolio with 3D printers and increasing their 3D print teams, it seems that 3D printers could soon be a more popular product for retailers and consumers.