Rapid growth predicted for 3D printing industry, with the market set to triple by 2026


Hubs, the distributed manufacturer, has released its annual 3D Printing Trend Report that shows the 3D printing market is experiencing healthy growth after the initial decline due to COVID-19.

According to the report, the market grew by roughly 19.8% in 2021, with over $15.1 billion in revenue. An analysis of research by 12 leading market-analyst firms shows predicted market growth of 24% to around $44.5 billion by 2026.

The report suggests that industry developments over the next several years will position 3D printing to surpass its role as a rapid and functional prototyping technology, shifting instead toward viable end-use parts and serial production applications. In general, more engineers are using 3D printing than in previous years—68% of respondents to an industry survey used 3D printing more in 2021 than in 2020—and the hardware market is expected to hit a market size of nearly $10 billion within the decade. 

The 3D Printing Trend Report 2022 includes insights from a survey of several hundred engineering businesses, conducted in February 2022, and systemic reviews of industry news and market analysis reports. 

Hub’s forecasts show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% over the next five years, which is in line with the company’s 2020 report—and well above the 2021 report that predicted a CAGR of 19%—indicating market recovery and increased confidence in industry growth. 

Key findings include: 

  • The overall 3D printing market will grow by 24% to reach $44.5 billion by 2026.
  • 49% of survey respondents printed 10+ parts in their production runs, compared to 36% in 2021.
  • 3D printing use is steadily moving towards more industrial production applications.
  • 68% of respondents used 3D printing more in 2021 than in 2020.
  • Many of Hub’s sources believe the driving force in 3D printing this year will be new materials and composites.
  • Companies that adopted Industry 4.0 prior to the pandemic seemed to fare better throughout COVID-19, which has pushed more companies to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, including 3D printing.
  • As a decentralized, digital manufacturing technology, 3D printing may become a viable way to support climate action initiatives, especially given the development of newer, more sustainable metal and polymer materials. 

Overall, the 3D printing market has developed and matured significantly. In 2021, there were several notable mergers and acquisitions between leaders within the industry. Stratasys acquired Origin, Sandvik’s BEAMIT acquired 3T Additive and Hubs joined forces with Protolabs to become the world’s most comprehensive digital manufacturing platform. This indicates that the market is maturing and consolidating and is now well-positioned for fast growth.

Add a Comment

No messages on this article yet

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
Subscribe FREE to the weekly E-newsletter