5.6 million 3D printers will be shipped by 2019: Gartner

Gartner predicts worldwide shipments of 3D printers will tip 5.6 million by 2019, with 244,533 expected to be shipped by the end of this year.

Worldwide shipments of 3D printers will tip 5.6 million units by 2019, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner expects worldwide shipments to reach 244,533 units in 2015 and 496,475 units in 2016, which is more than double the figure forecast for this year. The analyst firm predicts annual shipment figures will continue to double each year between 2016 and 2019, by which stage it is predicted over 5.6 million units will be shipped worldwide.

"The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to broad-based, global market of enterprises and consumers." Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner said.

"Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3D printer technologies are driving both enterprise and consumer demand."

This latest analysis follows Gartner's 2014 forecast, which predicted 3D shipments across both consumer and enterprise would continue to double until 2018, when 2.3 million 3D printing units will be shipped with a value of $13.4 billion.

This year's analysis estimates a further 1 million units than the research firm originally predicted.

"Unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers, which languished in the low single and double digits per year throughout the 30 years since the first 3D printers were invented, are poised to increase dramatically beginning in 2015," Basiliere said at the time.

"As radical as the forecast numbers may seem, bear in mind that even the 2.3 million shipments that we forecast will be sold in 2018 are a small fraction of the total potential market of consumers, businesses and government organisations worldwide."