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Survey: Positive Global Growth Potential for 3D Printing

Ultimaker’s 3D Printing Sentiment Index 2019 provides a comprehensive view into the current 3D printing landscape.


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Ultimaker has released some interesting findings regarding the current state of 3D printing adoption rates, as well as a look into the future of the market. The company released its first annual 3D Printing Sentiment Index on Nov. 19. Independent research conducted by Savanta, an international research firm, details a comprehensive view of the current and future potential for 3D printing in 12 countries worldwide. The quantified index reveals the U.S., U.K., and Germany have the highest expectations for implementing additive manufacturing and capitalizing on its opportunities.

The index is a measure of market awareness and adoption; adoption levels over time; as well as overall sentiment towards the potential impact of the technology. It is based on 2,548 interviews with professionals and in-depth analysis of macro-economic factors. Five key elements were investigated: market awareness, adoption and install base, 3D printing growth indicators, perceived future impact and optimism, and technology infrastructure and ease of adoption. Overall, 67% of respondents are currently aware of the terms ‘3D printing’ and ‘additive manufacturing.’ However, something to note—only 35% have adopted the technology. While at the same time, nearly two thirds—65%—think that 3D printing will revolutionize their industry and nearly 40% say that 3D printing will bring significant operational efficiencies and cost savings to their businesses over the coming 12 months, indicating the market’s rapid evolution.

Market Awareness 

The survey shows that the Netherlands (83%), Switzerland (82%), and the U.S. (77%) have the highest levels of awareness. The Netherlands, home to several 3D printing companies, is often considered a leader in technology. Switzerland has strong growth in both the manufacturing and research field, industries where 3D printing has a high innovation and adoption rate.

“For potential stakeholders who haven't embraced the additive manufacturing market and are hesitant about entering, this index shows they should be unafraid to contribute and can expect a healthy return on that contribution,” says Rohit Jhamb, director global research & analytics at Ultimaker.

Level of Adoption 

By investigating the number of businesses that have adopted 3D printing and used the technology for more than five years, the survey determines the current maturity level across various countries. In China, 53% of businesses have adopted 3D printing and 11% have used it for more than five years, followed by the U.S. (34% and 19% have 5+ years of usage) and France (42% and 8% have 5+ years of usage). This is significantly higher than the global average.

When the 67% of respondents who are aware of the technology were asked about their current and future 3D printing budgets, China, India, and the Netherlands came top with the highest current budget and future investment plans over the next 12 months. 

Plastics Continue to Lead

The dominate material used for 3D printing continues to be plastics at 82%. And some are also working with carbon fiber (24%) and composites (20%).

More country-level details on material use and key applications can be found here: