New Wohlers Report 2021 Finds 7.5% Growth in AM Industry Despite Pandemic

The 26th annual installment of the Wohler’s Report 2021 discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the AM industry, the hidden costs of AM and more, all indicating industry acceleration.


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Figure 1. Photo Credit: Wohler’s Report 2021

On March 16th Wohlers Associates Inc. (Fort Collins, Colorado), an independent consulting firm that provides technical and strategic consulting on the new developments and trends in rapid product development and additive manufacturing (AM), released the publication of its Wohlers Report 2021, an annual report on AM and 3D printing. According to the company, the study provides trends, perspectives and forecasts as a tool for decision-making, education and knowledge acceleration. 

Its most recent 375-page report discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the AM industry. Even with the pandemic, Wohlers Associates found a 7.5% industry expansion to nearly $12.8 billion in 2020. Growth was down considerably, compared to average growth of 27.4% over the previous 10 years.

The report also found that most established manufacturers of AM systems saw a decline in equipment sales, but many less-established companies grew in 2020. An increase in business by AM service providers supported industry-wide growth. The chart (up above) shows 7.1% growth from independent service providers worldwide, resulting in nearly $5.3 billion of revenue from this group.

Among the new and expanded features in Wohlers Report 2021 include:

  • 3D printing of food, medicine and electronics
  • Pricing of metals and polymers and the hidden costs of AM
  • Methods of AM part inspection
  • Pandemic’s impact on the AM industry
  • Compilation of expert reports from 34 countries
  • Tables of AM systems, software tools, service providers and third-party materials.

The report includes commentary on 74 early-stage investments and 35 acquisitions and public offerings. AM startups and established companies have received substantial funding in the recent past. One example is Desktop Metal (Richmond, Virginia), which received $575 million as part of a merger with a special acquisitions company. After going public in December 2020, Desktop Metal’s market capitalization exceeded $7.5 billion in February 2021.

Wohlers Report 2021 was created with the support of 124 service providers, 113 manufacturers of AM machines, and 24 producers of third-party materials. Eighty-eight co-authors and contributors from 34 countries provided expert views and perspectives. Wohlers Associates says this valuable input, coupled with its own experience and data, has resulted in the most detailed and comprehensive body of work on AM available.

Wohlers Report 2021 includes 54 charts and graphs, 104 tables and 397 images and illustrations. It also includes 80 pages of supplemental online content available exclusively to the buyers of the report. More information on the new report is available here