The Hype Of 3D Printing Seems To Be Over

Stratasys’ quarterly results reflect global downturn in demand for 3D printing

3D Printer manufacturer Stratasys has announced its fifth consecutive quarter of losses this week, highlighting the rapid decline of interest and excitement surrounding 3D printing.

Stratasys, the firm behind the MakerBot series of 3D printers, only sold 6,731 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems during the second quarter of 2015, compared to 7,536 in the first quarter.

The firm posted a $23m (£15m) loss for the second quarter, with shares falling 10.5 percent on Thursday night.

Guidance withdrawal

Stratasys also withdrew its full year financial guidance due to the losses. “Due to the company’s limited visibility regarding the timing of improvements in growth, the company has withdrawn its previously delivered full year 2015 financial guidance, and instead has provided financial guidance for the third quarter of 2015,” the company said in a statement.

3d printing
3D Systems’ Chuck Hall

Stratasys rival 3D Systems, which also saw peak interest from investors in January 2014, felt the effect of Stratasys’ estimates, with its own stocks falling after investors heard the news.

3D Systems, which was founded by the man who practically invented 3D printing, is due to announce its second quarter results in August.

“Short-term, we will continue to make adjustments to our expenses to align with current market conditions,” said Stratasys CEO David Reis. “Long-term, we remain committed to our growth initiatives that include enhancing vertical solution capabilities, expanding customer support services, accelerating product development, and growing the sales and marketing infrastructure – all of which are designed to drive future growth.”

In 2014, analyst firm Gartner predicted that cheaper 3D printers with ‘plug and print’ functionality will cause shipments to double every year between 2015 and 2018.

Around 108,151 3D printers were shipped during 2014, a figure which is set to increase to 217,350 by 2015 and will reach 2.3 million units within four years, creating a $13.4bn market.

But this could all be set to change as 3D printer technology doesn’t seem to have progressed much in 12 months, leaving consumers frustrated at spending hours printing small, useless objects at high prices.

Take our 3D printing quiz here!