Report predicts Europe to become world leader in 3D printing by 2020

Set to overtake the Americas

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It's getting harder to ignore the 3D printing boom wherever you are in the world. UK supermarket ASDA recently introduced a service that prints 3D 'mini-me' figures for customers in-store, and Australian company Cartesian is attracting funding for a 3D printer that can print circuits for smartwatches.

Now, research firm MarketsandMarkets has served up its prediction as to which nation will lead the 3D printing pack in its new report '3D Printing Market by Technology, Application, Consumer, Healthcare, Government & Defence'.

The Americas is currently the leader in terms of revenue share in 3D printer machines, materials and related services, but will be surpassed by Europe by 2020, according to the report.

Global impact

MarketsandMarkets has also put a figure on how big the global 3D printing market could grow by 2020, and it's a big one: $8.4 billion (around £5 billion, or AU$8.6 billion), to be exact.

According to the report, 3D Printing's global value will be driven by "advanced technologies, customised products, governments funding, wide unexploited application market, rapid development of products at a low cost, and less time to market".

That low cost part will likely form one of the major driving forces behind its adoption, according to analyst house Gartner, which reckons that 3D printing will have a transformational impact on business within five to 10 years as lower cost models infiltrate the market.