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3D Printing – The Greatest Threat to Brands Today

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We are only now beginning to see the penetration of 3D printing technology in the marketplace. In 2014 we saw the 3D printer appearing in stores across the globe. For around $1,100 (US)  you could own your own 3D printer, allowing you access to files that will give you the ability to print consumables in your home.

This is amazing technology is still in its infancy, but given the world we live in, it won’t take long before we will have 3D printers that will  products at a fraction of time it tak3es today using a large array of materials.

3D technology is already printing Band-Aids, bone implants, clothing, body parts for education services, prosthetic hands, furniture, tooling and models. This is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact researcher are now claiming they can use stem cells in 3D printing as scaffolds to repair joints.

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With 3D printing, printing a single item is almost as cost effective as a mass produced item. This allows anyone to start producing items that will have the same cost advantage of a factory producing a product in a China. 3D printing involves the technique of a machine printing successive layers to form a three dimensional object. Using a range of materials from powder though to human tissue, thin layers are laid down and from layer to layer things are created. With printable files called STLs, it drives the printer to produce the 3 dimensional product.

At this point in time 3D printing has a novelty factor in terms of how consumers view the technology. 3D printing has also yet to attain true market penetration of this technology in business and in the home. But in the next few years this will change and we predict that it will revolutionise even further how we shop, produce, and use products. People will no longer need to purchase an item they will just print it off. They will be able to find products from luxury brands through to commodity brands and just download a file that has been created by a designer and print it off at home. 3D printing is the biggest threat to branding of products in history.

Imagine you have just bought an iPhone and you want to buy a cover. You will go the net, find the cover your like, download the STL file and send it to your 3D printer. You continue to walk around the shopping centre (which is now more an entertainment centre due to the collapse of bricks and mortar) when you get home your cover is ready for you to clip onto your phone.

You’re at your home and you notice that your light switch is cracked, no need to call an electrician you just print off a new one and replace the new with the old.  From plastic drinking glasses all the way to clothing and footwear, you will be able to print it off at home. In fact they are even printing homes! No need to shop online and wait for the company to produce and the courier company to deliver it. The purchase cycle from manufacture to consumer use has just been eliminated.

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With every new product introduction in this technology revolution, there will be winners and losers. The 3D printer will have a much wider impact than many other new technologies and will dramatically impact the luxury industry, the wider consumer markets, industries, companies and brands.

Luxury brands need to start putting in place today strategies that will give them a competitive edge in the ‘I want it now’ community.

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OUTCOMES:

There are many opportunities for businesses to embrace this technology, think outside their current paradigms and create new products and services, which will create new products and extend the lifecycle of current brands. The following are some of our key future forecasts relating to this market trend.

  • Growth of industries that create printable files
  • Generation i and later millennials with develop their own designs for products and print them off
  • 3D printers will become the disruptors of traditional mass manufacturing and will sound the beginning of the destruction of mass production of consumables as we currently know it.
  • We will see a growing trend of bespoke produces of limited edition products that are downloaded and printed as a one off purchase. Once the consumer has printed the item the program will have a piece of code which will disable or delete the STL file.

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IMPLICATIONS:

  • Destruction of brands and products, as people will download files and print them off at a fraction of a product sold online or in store.
  • Destruction of mass production factories.
  • Economic impact in countries that supply cheap product to the world such as China.
  • Impact on shipping and transport companies as consumables are printed at the point of use.
  • Counterfeiting at a level never seen before and impossible to manage and police
  • Further erosion of bricks and mortar stores, destruction of online shops supplying mass produced products
  • The redefinition of labour and destruction of employment within manufacturing roles.
  • This new technology will have a major impact on a number of industries and occupations.
    • Second hand parts companies
    • Distribution companies – they will only ship print cartridges
    • Destruction of manufacturing
    • Loss of jobs, economic impact on countries and industries that mass produce stuff

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IMPACTS

  • Growth of industries that create printable files
  • Generation i and later millennials with develop their own designs and print them off
  • Destruction of mass production of consumables
  • 3D printers become the disruptors of traditional manufacturing
  • Destruction of brands
  • Destruction of mass production factories
  • Economic impact in countries that supply cheap product to the world such as China.
  • Impact on shipping and transport companies
  • Counterfeiting at a level never seen before and impossible to manage and police
  • Further erosion of bricks and mortar stores, destruction of online shops supplying mass produced products
  • The redefinition of labour
  • This new technology will have a major impact on a number of industries and occupations.
    • Second hand parts companies
    • Distribution companies – they will only ship print cartridges
    • Destruction of manufacturing
    • Loss of jobs, economic impact on countries and industries that mass produce stuff!

Connect to more disruptive luxury trends at www.futurehub.co  

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