Juniper Research has been analysing the nascent 3D print market, and is predicting that consumer hardware sales and material revenues will rise to $1.2bn (£0.7bn) in four years.
Nitin Bhas, researcher and author of the Juniper report, indicated that it expects the emergent market to take $75m in 2014 and that sales will rise further as the applications available multiply.
"For 3D printing to find a mainstream market among consumers, it needs to widen the applications available that integrate consumer lifestyle and drive a number of applications beyond professional printing," he said.
An example is MakerBot's Thingiverse design community and its digital store, which aim to help users access content via cloud computing and do more with their 3D printers, Bhas indicated.
"There has been an increase in awareness of 3D printing [but] it is still, and will continue to be, a niche consumer technology," he added.
Unsurprisingly, the US and western Europe are the biggest consumer markets right now for 3D print. Bhas added that vendors 3D Systems and Stratasys both say that there is a stronger demand for 3D printers and materials in professional spheres than from consumers.
The entry of HP and Epson into the professional market, along with the development of an appropriate ecosystem of software, apps and materials, will further educate the mass market, he said.
Epson has claimed it wants to have technology that can "3D print" anything within five years.
Meanwhile, retailers such as Staples have tested in-store 3D print services for customers, Bhas noted.
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