Why the Consumer 3-D Printing Revolution Is Years From Taking Off

Don’t believe the hype that you’ll be clamoring for a 3-D printer of your very own anytime soon.

Mar 24, 2014 at 4:16PM

While the mainstream media has certainly tried to sell consumers on the idea that everyone will eventually own a 3-D printer, we're still many years, if not a decade away from this idea potentially captivating the masses. Today's generation of consumer 3-D printers are slow, expensive, and lack a range of compelling use cases for everyday consumers to go wild for the technology.

As a result, 3-D printing giants 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) hardly generate any revenue from consumer 3-D printing applications. In 2013, less than 7% of 3D Systems' total revenue came from consumer applications. In the fourth quarter, 16% of Stratasys' revenue came from sales of the market-leading MakerBot brand. Clearly, the majority of money is being made in the professional and industrial segments, an area where 3D Systems and Stratasys will likely continue to focus their efforts to drive growth.

In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller makes a case for why a consumer-driven 3-D printing revolution isn't likely to happen any time soon and why investors should more closely watch the industrial and professional segment. After all, that's where all of the money is being made.

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Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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