For all the hype, fewer than 150 consumer 3D printers are sold per day

Who wants this in their home office?
Who wants this in their home office?
Image: AP Photo/DAPD/Jens-Ulrich Koch
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Given how often credulous media outlets breathlessly extol the revolutionary nature of our 3D printed future, you’d think that the market for cheap, accessible 3D printers would be exploding. Mostly, you’d be wrong. According to a report by Gartner, subsequently picked apart by the Wall Street Journal, in the entire world only 56,507 3D printers costing less than $100,000 will be sold in 2013.

For comparison, about 293,000 conventional 2D printers are sold every day, the report’s author told the Journal.

Gartner projects that the market for 3D printers will grow 97% annually over the next five years, which would mean 826,000 will be sold per year by the end of 2017. That’s still just a couple of thousand printers per day. Even if most of them end up in the “prosumer” market of designers and small scale manufacturers, they’re not about to transform how we make everyday goods.