Here are the top 5 trends to watch for in 2015:
1) Big firms getting into the space. In 2014 we have seen the arrival of HP, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Home Depot, UPS Store and other giant firms. These firms bring with them professional management, custom software, distribution networks and money. The main 3 areas in our industry are of course machines, software and marketplaces. Some firms like Apple may be getting into all 3 spaces. Will Apple make the coolest 3D Printer?
2) More and more materials. Most of the 2014 media centers around “wow, look at what we can 3D Print!” This will be true on 2015 as the industry takes on greater amounts of alloys and other materials. Expect to see more food, more medical uses, more hard to find parts and more rubber materials as a starter.
3) Investors will be more demanding. Investors now have a much broader choice of investment vehicles. Until now there were a handful of pure play 3D Printing firms to buy. And then there was the world of start ups; which can be feast or famine. Now an investor can simply buy some HP stock (which trades at a much lower p/e ratio then some of the larger established players). Late stock drops show that investors are no more “in love” with 3D Printing. They want returns.
4) More salesmen, less engineers in charge. Here we will see 3D Printing start ups run by people who know less about how to design something and more by people who know how to sell something.
5) Less acquisition by the big players. There was a rush to grab a lot of engineering focussed 3D Printing start ups. Now many of the acquirers will have to spend tome straightening out what they purchased and moving on with their core