Wellesley, Mass.-based BCC Research LLC forecasts the global market for advanced 3-D printing materials to grow to $650 million by 2019, at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 17.9 percent.
The thermoplastics category is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment overall with a 20 percent annual growth rate. Thermoplastics, including polymers such as ABS, polylactic acid, nylon and polycarbonate was valued at just $64.5 million in 2013 and is expected to jump to $192.6 million by 2019.
The photopolymers category is the largest segment and is expected to reach $380 million in 2019, at a growth rate of 15 percent annually. Advanced photopolymers, generally used in 3-D printing, include simulated polypropylene, simulated ABS, transparent photopolymers, rubber-like photopolymers, and medical and dental photopolymers.
The automotive sector was the largest market for 3-D printing materials in 2013, accounting for over 26 percent. However, automotive applications are expected to fall to third place by 2019, behind the medical/dental products and consumer products category, which are expected to claim 25 percent and 22 percent of the market, respectively.