Expert Opinion: The Consumer 3-D Printing Segment Needs More Time

For now, the professional market remains king in the 3-d printing space.

Steve Heller
Steve Heller
Apr 12, 2014 at 10:00AM

By now, you've probably heard the hype that a 3-D printer is coming to a living room near you, but it's still hard to imagine a day where every home has its own. Naturally, this hasn't stopped Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), which remained determined to enter your home with their respective lines of consumer-oriented desktop printers, MakerBot and Cube.

However, with only about 66,000 of these 3-D printers ever sold between Stratasys and 3D Systems, it's clear that the consumer use case is still lacking. In fact, less than 7% of 3D Systems' 2013 revenue came from consumer operations, and around 16% of Stratasys' revenue came from its MakerBot line during its most recent fourth quarter. Clearly, the majority of 3D Systems' and Stratasys' revenue is generated in the professional and industrial segments, something that Rich Stump of FATHOM, a highly experienced Stratasys reseller and 3-D printing service center, agrees with. In Stump's mind, it's clear that while the consumer 3-D printing revolution may be coming, it won't be happening anytime soon.

In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller sits down with Stump to get his insider perspective of the consumer 3-D printing segment today and where he sees it going tomorrow. From the investor perspective, Steve believes that Stratasys and 3D Systems shareholders will be better served focusing on the professional and industrial segment for the time being.