Stratasys announced some impressive second quarter numbers today, noting that the company saw $178.46 million in revenue this quarter compared to $156.61 million last quarter. Profit also rose from $18 million last year to $27.99 million this year.
To what does Stratasys owe this pleasure? Makerbot. After buying the company for $403 million last year, the high-end 3D printer maker saw sales surge. While, for years, the money was in building massive industrial printers for design shops and engineers, Stratasys has just confirmed that the home 3D printing market is a booming, albeit on a small scale.
Last year the company sold a little over a thousand printers. This year the company sold 14,909 printers in the second quarter alone. This is also the quarter that Makerbot announced their Gen 5 units as well as their smaller Mini printers and the large scale X18. Sales of these printers brought in $33.6 million in revenue for Stratasys, almost double last year’s numbers. But Makerbot isn’t the only driver. The real driver is increased awareness of 3D printing and, more important, availability of devices.
In short, home 3D printing is the next big thing. When I said Makerbot was changing the world last CES I wasn’t wrong: I was a just a bit early. Manufacturers are producing amazing devices. Form Labs just announced their new improved printer while Solidoodle announced not one but three new printers.
Anecdotally I’ve noticed that 3D printing is nearly mainstream in some spheres. For example, I used to do a brisk business on MakeXYZ, a 3D printing marketplace, making things for artists and designers. Now, over the past few months, orders have fallen off. Why? Because more and more people are buying and using inexpensive 3D printers.
Stratasys made the right move. Here’s hoping the other big players figure out Makerbot’s secret sauce before it becomes a race with only one horse running. It’s an exciting time for 3D printing and it’s only getting more interesting – and lucrative.