The 3D industry has reported grown by 21% last year alone and according to the 2014 Wholers Report, the worldwide 3D printing industry is now expected to grow from $3.07 billion in revenue in 2013 to $12.8 billion by 2018, and exceed $21 billion in worldwide revenue by 2020.
After testing 3D printing in it's San Diego stores, UPS has decided to expand it's partnership with SSYS to 100 stores nationwide. California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas are just some of the states set to open stores with 3D-printing capabilities.
3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS) may be the largest 3D printing companies around, but together they only represented about one-third of worldwide 3D printing revenues in 2013. In other words, the 3D printing industry remains highly fragmented, and because no single company controls the majority of the market, there's a massive opportunity for a number of 3D printing companies to grow their revenue and market share considerably. Other publicly traded names include XONE, VJET, AMAVF and MTLS although names such as HPQ are investing in 3D as well as companies like General Electric (GE) who have been working to use metal 3D printing for mission-critical aviation applications like jet engine fuel nozzles.
As MotleyFool recent stated, investing in the growth of 3D printing by owning shares of 3D Systems, Stratasys, or other 3D printing stocks is far from a sure thing and carries a high degree of risk. The sector is richly valued relative to the S&P 500, the potential exists for disruption in the form of patent expirations or technological breakthroughs, and the promise of future profitability is far from a guarantee. While it's true that 3D Systems, Stratasys, and others could acquire its potential disruptors, it isn't necessarily a sustainable strategy over the ultra long term.