After smartphones and PCs, 3-D printing is the latest buzz-inducing technological advancement. Initially, the technology had been used for designing prototypes, but it's now making parts for finished goods. Once the 3-D printing industry picks up the pace, it could become the perfect alternative to traditional manufacturing.
Plenty of potential
The industry won't just cater to corporate and business use; it also has a lot of opportunities in the consumer market. Also, CitiGroup recently upgraded the ratings of two major 3-D printing stocks to buy.
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD)
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), one of the leading stocks in the 3-D printing scene, has a market cap of over $5 billion and is currently trading around $51.90.
As you can see in the graph below, the company's share price has come a long way hitting the $50 mark in June. The stock has gained more than 66% since March, and I don't see the growth stopping anytime soon -- at least, not for the next couple of years.
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
3-D Systems has released several new products, including advanced 3-D printers and new software, which had an overall decent reception in the market. They helped to contribute to a more than 100% increase in the "printers and other products" revenue to $54.2 million in its most recent quarter.
Key areas to focus on
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) does seem like it's heading in the right direction -- but considering that it's still in its early phases, investors shouldn't solely rely on analysts' predictions. Firstly, you need to focus on how well the company can integrate the acquisitions it's made over the last two years, including Geomagic, Teamplatform, and Phenix Systems.
I'd also keep an eye on 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD)' performance in the consumer market, which is probably one of the major factors that will determine the company's direction. Closely watch the Cubify design website, along with sales of the company's consumer Cube printers, to see how it's performing in this crucial segment.
Lastly, 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) must also focus on the professional market, which has always been the company's cash cow. The company's printers can now fabricate items not only in metals, but also in plastic.
Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS)
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) may have a bit more potential than 3D Systems thanks to its acquisition of MakerBot, one of the first companies to produce affordable 3-D printers.
Since it opened in 2009, MakerBot has sold more than 22,000 printers. Its purchase could boost Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS)'s top line, since Makerbot is reportedly expecting $75 million in revenue this year, and booked $11.5 million in revenues for the latest quarter.