The first commercial 3D printer was invented in 1988. By 1996, the global market for additive manufacturing products and services was worth US$400m, up from US$100m in 1993. For much of the 1990s and 2000s, the additive manufacturing industry grew at double-digit annual growth rates. 3D printing, or “additive manufacturing,” is the process of joining materials to make objects from three-dimensional model data, usually layer upon layer.

3D printers are best suited for certain tasks: they are good for small production runs where customized products and short development cycles are the norm; they are suited for small items because there are limits to the size of affordable 3D printers; they are suited to high-value products, because they make it easier for the developer to retain manufacturing in-house; they are also suited to products with high complexity, because the creation of complex geometric features is difficult to achieve using traditional machining methods but relatively easy with 3D printing. This is because any part that can be modeled digitally can be printed.

In retail, 3D printing is also being used to create foot traffic for stores and also as a way of offering a greater degree of product customization to consumers. Other future uses include it being a low waste production alternative for waste-conscious consumers and a way of allowing small manufacturers with limited amounts of capital to produce complex parts. 3D printing is currently being explored in new contexts as well, most notably in construction and medicine.

There are four primary applications for additive manufacturing systems -

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Tooling
  • Direct part manufacturing
  • Maintenance and repair

The report "3D Printing in Retail and FMCG - Thematic Research", offers a framework in which to look at 3D Printing, summarizes the important trends, and identifies the key players.The report also helps in identifying winners and losers based on technology leadership, market position and other factors.


  • This report analyses the impact of 3D printing in retail and FMCG.
  • It discusses the benefits and uses of 3D printing in retail.
  • It identifies the early adopters in this technology theme.

Reasons To Buy

  • The report highlights some of the leading players in the 3D printing sector.
  • It identifies some of the main trends in the 3D printing industry over the next 12 to 24 months.
  • It provides an industry analysis, with use cases, history, market size forecasts, competitor landscape, mergers and acquisitions and a timeline.
  • The report also analyses the impact of 3D printing on retail and FMCG through case studies, and key recommendations for 3D printing vendors.
  • It offers a technology briefing, explaining the evolution of the additive manufacturing industry.