Worldwide 3D printer shipments have increased 29% in 2016, while revenue has grown by more than 18% year-over-year in 2016, according to market research firm IDC.

"The 3D printing market surge continues on a worldwide basis with more technology and materials options, which are driving more investment in 3D printers and greater utilisation of the equipment that has been installed," said Tim Greene, research director, Hardcopy Solutions at IDC. "We're seeing exciting growth in some of the key technology segments, with FFF/FDM, SLA and powder-bed fusion all growing at double-digit rates year over year."

The fastest-growing technology segments were FFF/FDM and stereolithography, which both grew shipments by nearly 30% in 2016 compared to 2015. On the revenue side, powder-bed fusion-based 3D printers grew by nearly 40% from 2015 to 2016, according to IDC.

The strongest growth in 3D printer shipments came from the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East & Africa.

Shipments in Asia/Pacific surged in 2016 making it the largest 3D printer region in the world in 2016, while 3D printer shipments in North America recovered nicely in the second half of 2016, but were still down for the year.

Chinese manufacturers selling low-end FFF/FDM printers, including Flashforge, XYZ Printing and Tiertime, make up more than 30% of shipments but less than 5% of worldwide hardware revenue.

Stratasys and 3D Systems make up just over 6% of worldwide shipments, but over 30% of total hardware revenue in 2016, according to IDC.