Tech Trends

3D Scanners: High-End Features Trickling Down to Entry-Level Devices

3D scanners are expected to see explosive growth in the next few years. The devices allow users to scan real-world objects to convert them into 3D models for a range of purposes, including 3D printing.

The massive growth in the 3D scanner market will be propelled, in part, by more advanced scanning technologies trickling down into the entry level (less than $5,000) and middle price ranges ($5,000 to $50,000) from the top end ($50,000-plus), according to a new forecast from market research firm IDC, Worldwide 3D Scanner Forecast, 2020-2023.

According to IDC, other factors for growth include:

  • Improvements in software leading to increased ease of use;
  • New use cases; and
  • More efficient processes.

"As the market has expanded, we continue to see a rapidly growing number of applications of 3D scanning technology. More accuracy, a greater number of features, and more efficient processing and workflows are increasing customer interest and experimentation by users," said Max Pepper, research analyst, Imaging, Printing, Document Solutions at IDC, in a prepared statement.

IDC is predicting a 21.2 percent compound annual growth rate in 3D scanner shipments through 2023, with total shipments hitting 635 million units in 2023. That will represent a value of about $3 billion in 2023.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).