For years the 3D printer space has been dominated by two major players, Stratasys Ltd. and 3D Systems, Inc., which together account for over 55.0% of the market. That kind of share limits competition and has kept prices for machines relatively high. But an influx of new vendors has boosted competition and placed downward pressure on prices.
We expect in the future, as adoption increases throughout the 3DP manufacturer value chain, prices will decline sufficiently to drive purchase prices to levels that will make printers more accessible to the typical retail consumer. Until then, the key to opening access to retail consumers is in an “on-demand” environment that lets consumers engage in 3DP leveraging third-party infrastructure.
Additional key factors that will accelerate mass consumer adoption:
• Increased printer speeds. Today’s desktop printers can take well over an hour to generate a small object. Manufacturers and engineering research teams are working to change that, introducing designs that perform multiples faster than currently available devices and printing complete objects in minutes.
• Cheaper raw materials. As in other emerging growth industries, as adoption increases raw materials prices tend to decrease due to volume-based economies of scale.
Against this backdrop, an increasing number of on-demand 3DP websites have emerged, which include Statasys, Shapeways, Sculpteo, Printform, Protolabs and 3dsystems, amongst others. We expect as prices decline, consumer awareness and adoption increases, competition in the online 3DP services market will increase.
We believe our approach to creating an intuitive, user-friendly membership based community that aggregates key stakeholders in the 3DP value chain (consumers, printers and designers) is differentiated and will enable us to effectively build a loyal consumer base. And we believe our strategy to support our online marketplace with local, walk-in fabrication centers will provide consumers and local businesses in strategic urban areas with infrastructure and support that is not otherwise available in the market today.