Is 3D Printing a Viable Industry?

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With the drop in 3D printing stock prices last week, many are wondering if this could mean that the 3D printing bubble has burst.

Last week, 3D Systems’ stock tumbled from $75.76 per share on Tuesday to $57.28 on Wednesday. This drop came after 3D Systems announced that it cut its 2014 projected earnings. Projected earnings were lowered from $0.93-1.03 to $0.83-0.87 per share –a 13% decrease.

3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental explained the company’s low performance, by stating that the company took on losses during last year’s fourth quarter, with the goal of accelerating revenue growth.

These expenditures resulted in compressed earnings for the fourth quarter and adjusted projections for the coming year.

Other 3D printing companies experienced a drop as well, with Stratasys posting a 6% stock price loss.

The news last week has left many investors wondering whether this could signify the beginning of the end. Is 3D printing in decline, or is it a viable and growing industry?

While it’s too soon to tell, experts are quick to mention that this dip in major industry players doesn’t signify the downfall of an entire industry.

Motley Fool analyst Simon Erickson talks about the report, and explains that he believes the source of the weakness comes from consumer demand. Erickson says that 3D Systems still has strong demand from its industrial clients. If this is the case, it’s certainly a preferable than the reverse, since industrial customers form a more significant portion of 3D Systems’ revenues than consumer clients do.

It’s too soon to tell what 2014 holds for 3D printing, and while many feel that the sector may be over-hyped; some analysts say that 3D printing could become mainstream as soon as the general public is given a compelling reason to bring a 3D printer in the home.