Sure, we’ve all got our favorite 3D printer manufacturers. Maybe you’re a big fan of MakerBot, or perhaps you’re a loyal user of RoBo 3D.
On the other hand, you might prefer Flashforge, Leapfrog or another company. How do these manufacturers stack up to one another in the court of public opinion?
While customer satisfaction will definitely vary, perhaps the best metric here is sales volume. So, let’s take a closer look at the best-selling 3D printers in today’s marketplace (as geared for hobbyists, primarily).
The Rankings (Online Sales Only)
While BestBuy might occasionally showcase a 3D printer or two in their physical stores, that’s a rarity. They do stock a number of models on their website, though.
The same is true for Wal-Mart. Amazon is also a huge source of sales in the 3D printer segment, delivering access to more models than both Wal-Mart and BestBuy together.
According to research by JeeQ Data, BestBuy.com customers prefer their printers in the following order:
- XYZ Printing (32%)
- MakerBot (18%)
- RoBo 3D (11.67%)
- 3D Systems (11%)
- 3Doodler (11%)
Other outliers included the following, each with an increasingly small share of the market:
- AMD (with a respectable 9%)
- BuMat (which accounted for just 0.33% of sales)
Of course, that’s the brand breakdown. Things look a little different when you compare the sales of individual models.
For instance, XYZ’s da Vinci printer outsells most other options everywhere, but the Cube from 3D Systems is actually giving the larger printer a run for its money.
That uptick in popularity is because of the differences between the two models. The Cube is extremely user friendly, compact, and fits almost anywhere.
The da Vinci, on the other hand, has more features packed into it, which adds complexity and makes the learning curve a bit steeper. So, you have to factor in the appeal of specific models with different audiences.
The Cube will appeal to beginners, as well as for those teaching 3D printing to younger people (for use in elementary school classrooms for example). The da Vinci is more appealing to those with a bit of experience under their belts, and who likely do a good bit of creating at home, or even within their small business.
This makes it imperative that anyone tracking sales in the market do more than just look at what printers are selling. They must look at a wide range of metrics, including:
- The audience purchasing each printer type
- The reason for the purchase
- The purpose for the printer (home use, business, classroom, etc.)
As more and more printers come to the market, tracking sales will become increasingly difficult. Each brand will have a smaller and smaller percentage of the industry, with perhaps a handful remaining in control of the lion’s share of the marketplace.