• World rank:2
  • Index score:139.5

In the market

  • Awareness The percentage of respondents who are aware of either the term ‘3D printing’ or ‘additive manufacturing’ 67%
  • Adoption The percentage of respondents who have adopted 3D printer technology in their business 32%

Among users


Key Applications

  • 84% Prototyping
  • 55% Production tools
  • 44% End-use parts

Key materials

  • 81% Plastic/polymers
  • 24% Carbon fiber
  • 14% Composites

Perceived benefits
of 3D printing

  • 3D printing will have a significant positive impact on the business next year

  • 3D printing can offer extensive benefits to bring new concepts and design ideas to life

  • 3D printing offers a much more effective way of making tools, jigs, and fixtures than traditional methods

  • 3D printing is the most efficient way to
    produce small batches of products and components


Among largest 3D printing markets with significant room for growth

The UK has some 168,000 3D printers installed as of 2019 – one of the largest installed bases in the world (second only to the USA). It is also generally regarded as one of the larger markets by some sources.1 Within the context of this survey the UK represents one of the bigger, more developed economies and so has greater potential to consume significant numbers of printers than smaller economies such as the Netherlands or Switzerland.

In terms of overall adoption levels the UK appears in line with global averages (around one third). This suggests that there are a number of larger companies in the UK that have a significant number of printers (rather than a significant proportion of UK businesses using a moderate number of printers). Only 7% of UK businesses feel the technology is fully embedded today – which leaves significant room for future growth.

27% feel the technology will have a significant impact on their business next year and many can see the potential in terms of not just prototyping but also more advanced applications. Lack of knowledge and skills are acknowledged as key barriers that customers and potential prospects will need to overcome in order to see further growth in the market.

The UK government would like the UK to become a leading light in the additive manufacturing sphere and there seems to be some political will to drive this agenda. However, distractions such as Brexit and its consequences may make it difficult for the UK government to do this as forcefully as it would like. 1


Why does 3D printing sentiment matter?

Sentiments are the start of a domino effect. Positive sentiments lead to positive behavior and investments, resulting in a future of significant and sustainable market growth.

© Ultimaker 3D Printing Sentiment Index