Shipments of personal and desktop 3D printers grew by 22% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to latest figures from Context.
Context said that of the total 73,012 units shipped in the final quarter of last year, 96% of these were desktop/personal printers – mostly priced below $5,000 – representing a 22% year-on-year growth rate.
For the full year, the total market saw growth of 30% in terms of printers shipped, marked by a 33% year-on-year increase for desktop/personal printers, but 9% fewer for industrial and professional 3D printers.
In the desktop/personal 3D printer sector, Taiwanese vendor XYZprinting remained the global leader in Q4 2015, extending its share to 31% for the quarter and to 21% for the full calendar year.
The second half of the year witnessed the de-emphasis of the sale of desktop 3D printers to consumers by former market leaders Stratasys/MakerBot and 3D Systems/Cubify, a mantle picked up by others, including XYZprinting and M3D.
The period also witnessed the largest crowdsourced effort to date for 3D printers, with the pre-sale of over 16,000 units of the $179 Tiko 3D printer which is expected to arrive during 2016.
As seen by the demand generated by the Tiko campaign, Context expects growth in 2016 to be fuelled by even more aggressively priced 3D printers.
Market leader XYZprinting already showcased a $269 printer due later this year, with toy maker Mattel also getting in the game with a sub-$300 printer coming out by year’s end. The year will also witness the entrance into the desktop/personal market from such notable brands as Polaroid.
Context is forecasting the total global market for 3D printing – including not only printer hardware, but also materials and services – to grow from $4.1 billion in 2015 to $16.2 billion by 2020.