The VDMA’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group (AG AM) has released the results of a member survey it conducted in February 2021. More than fifty members took part in the survey and the VDMA states that manufacturers of industrial Additive Manufacturing machines and accessories have not been sustainably slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our latest member survey clearly shows that companies in the Additive Manufacturing sector are looking positively to the future despite the current difficult economic situation,” commented Dr Markus Heering, Managing Director of the AG AM in the VDMA.
According to the survey results, in the next twenty-four months, 78% of the companies surveyed expect a better development of the domestic market. The short-term forecast for the next twelve months is also positive for 53% of the companies and at least stable for 41%. Only 6% of the respondents fear a negative development.
Heering added, “Compared to our last member survey in September 2020, optimism among our members has actually increased. We are at an expectation level that companies last indicated in autumn 2019. We can be very satisfied with such a result.”
In September 2020, 29% of members had assessed the outlook for the coming twelve months as positive. At that time, the majority (53%) assessed the situation as unchanged.
The majority of the respondents (62%) did not have to report any major losses in turnover in the past six months and 12% of the participants were even able to increase their turnover by more than 20%. Only 10% of the respondents reported a decline in turnover of more than 20%. Heering noted, “The weak economy as a result of the pandemic is of course also affecting our members. Equipment manufacturers and material suppliers are particularly affected.”
Almost 50% of the respondents expect exports to increase in the next twelve months, with another 45% expecting at least business abroad to remain constant. The export expectations for the next twenty-four months are significantly higher: almost 60% expect growing exports. Only 4% of the respondents expect exports to decline. The respondents name the EU (87%) as the most important exportation market. For a good 40% of the participants, the American market is also important. This means that export expectations for the US have remained almost the same since the last conducted survey (40%).
The AG AM states that investment expectations have grown significantly again in the last twelve months. Almost 50% of the participants indicate that they will increase their company’s investments in the AM sector in the next twelve months. For as many as 42%, investments are expected to remain the same. This value was last slightly exceeded in September 2019: fifty-six of the respondents indicated higher investment plans then. In the September 2020 survey, 35% of companies planned to increase investment. “Our members underline their belief in the young industry with entrepreneurial action,” concluded Heering.