Consumer ProductsDecision MakersIndustry Analysis

Scaling the AM market for consumer products

Polymer technologies dominate but advances in metal AM are going to also play a major role in driving this key AM sector to generate over $9 billion in yearly revenues by 2033

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In 2023, total revenues for polymer AM in the consumer products market, including hardware, materials, and services, reached approximately $774 million, which was significantly higher than the $174 million generated by metal AM.

This significant difference shows that polymer-based 3D printing technologies are being more widely adopted in consumer applications today. Factors such as a wider range of uses, cost advantages, and greater ease of use or material accessibility are driving the larger market growth for polymer AM.

Currently, there are a greater number of consumer products that can be printed using plastic. Additionally, the price of metal 3D printed parts does not align well with the price requirements of most consumer product industries, further amplifying the disparity.

Scaling the AM market for consumer products. This key AM sector is expected to generate over $9 billion in yearly revenues by 2033.
Total consumer-market-related revenues in the core additive manufacturing industry (hardware+materials+services), 2023-2033

While polymer 3D printing is already being implemented in large sectors such as footwear, eyewear, sportswear (protective gear), sports accessories, and even components for bicycles and motorcycles, metal 3D printing is primarily being adopted in niche consumer areas such as jewelry, luxury design products, consumer electronics, and some sporting equipment such as bicycles. However, this is expected to change as more efficient metal AM technologies gain wider market adoption.

Projections in VoxelMatters’ latest reports on the Polymer AM Market and Metal AM Market indicate that revenues for polymer AM in consumer products will more than double from $774 million in 2023 to nearly $1.9 billion in 2026 and continue to grow rapidly thereafter. By 2033, polymer AM revenue is predicted to reach approximately $6.7 billion. In comparison, metal AM is expected to reach approximately $2.7 billion by 2033, with around $800 million in 2027. The CAGR for polymer additive manufacturing is approximately 24% per year, while for metal AM, it is roughly 31.4% per year. Despite the larger market size of polymer AM, metal AM is growing at a much faster rate.

Scaling the AM market for consumer products. This key AM sector is expected to generate over $9 billion in yearly revenues by 2033.
Click on the image for more information on VoxelMatters’ latest Metal AM Market report

AM hardware to make consumer products

Today, the AM machines that generate the most unit sales and revenues in the consumer products segment are stereolithographic systems used in tooling (mainly SLA) and final part production (mainly DLP), along with all PBF systems, also used in prototyping (laser) tooling and production (both laser and thermal). In the metal AM segment, the only machines truly viable for production are based on laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) technology, but are limited to unique and luxury products. Binder jetting is beginning to gain traction and targeting a wider range of products, but it will still take some time before it becomes widely adopted.

In 2023, polymer AM hardware began at a higher value of $380 million, while revenue for metal AM hardware started at $118 million. Polymer AM hardware revenue is expected to increase significantly, reaching $3.2 billion by 2033. By then, revenue for metal AM hardware is projected to reach $1.9 billion.

Click on the image for more information on VoxelMatters’ latest Polymer AM Market report

The CAGR for metal AM hardware is a healthy 32.3%, indicating rapid growth from a smaller base compared to polymer AM hardware, which has a lower CAGR of 23.7%.

Although the CAGR for metal AM is higher, indicating a faster annual growth rate, polymer AM hardware maintains a larger market size throughout the 10 years and also demonstrates substantial absolute growth in revenue.

From these insights, we can see that both sectors are experiencing solid growth, but the larger initial base and overall revenue of polymer AM hardware show that it occupies a more dominant market position in the consumer sector. Metal AM hardware, despite starting from a lower base, shows a very impressive growth rate, indicating expanding market adoption and technological advancements driving its increased use in the consumer sector.

Scaling the AM market for consumer products. This key AM sector is expected to generate over $9 billion in yearly revenues by 2033.
AM material revenues generated by consumer applications 2023-2033

A material world

Due to the higher cost and added value of applications, metal AM materials generate a higher percentage of revenues compared to metal AM hardware. Overall, yearly metal AM revenue in the consumer products segment starts at $13 million in 2023 and steadily grows each year, reaching $186 million by 2033. Polymer AM material revenue starts at a higher base of $39 million in 2023 and also increases annually, ending at $285 million in 2033.

The CAGR for metal AM materials is approximately 30.8% per year, demonstrating strong growth from a smaller base. The CAGR for polymer AM materials is about 22% per year, indicating consistent growth from a larger initial revenue figure.

Both metal and polymer materials show a solid increasing trend over the decade, with polymer maintaining higher revenue throughout the period. However, in terms of relative annual growth, metal materials have a higher percentage growth rate, with a faster CAGR than polymer materials.

AM at your service

Revenues generated by metal AM service bureaus started at $43 million in 2023 and follow a steady growth pattern, reaching $548 million by 2033. On the other hand, polymer AM service bureau revenue begins at a much higher value of $356 million in 2023 and grows each year to reach $3.2 billion by 2033. The CAGR for metal AM service bureaus is approximately 29% per year whilst the CAGR for polymer AM service bureaus stands at around 24.6% per year, indicating consistent growth from a larger initial revenue base.

According to VoxelMatters’ data, service bureaus in the consumer AM sector currently represent a relatively small business opportunity, but they are expanding. Polymer AM still maintains a higher share in terms of revenue, reinforcing its dominance in the market. As described in the following sections of this eBook, polymer products like eyewear, sportswear, and footwear present a substantial opportunity for AM service providers who implement specialized AM production lines.

Metal service bureaus, despite having lower total revenue, are nevertheless expanding at a steady rate, which indicates a growing demand for metal AM services. Futuristic state-of-the-art metal objects, such as Barrelhand’s Monolith watch, will help drive the arrival of this new era of consumer products.

This article was originally published in VoxelMatters’ VM Focus Consumer eBook. Read or download the full eBook for free at this link.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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