Sure, I was right in predicting Apple (AAPL) was going to face further erosion of both its smartphone and tablet market share this year — especially if it stuck with incremental upgrades. According to IDC, at the start of the year the iPhone had a 17.3% share of smartphones shipped, while the iPad had a 39.6% share of tablets. By Q3 2013 –Q4 stats won’t be available for a bit, but I doubt Apple’s going to see a miraculous recovery of lost ground– the iPhone was at 13.1% and the iPad had slipped to just 29.6% of tablets sold.
But boy, I was wrong about 3D printing.
I thought 2013 might be the year 3D printing took off in a big way — and on the stock level, it absolutely did. 3D Systems (DDD) will finish with 160%-plus gains in 2013. ExOne (XONE) also will record a doubler-plus, and Stratays (SSYS) should finish up 67%. Voxeljet (VJET) is “only” up 20% after its first day of trading in October, but at nearly $40 as of this writing, it has more than tripled from its $13 IPO price.
However, 3D printing’s blossoming at the consumer level hasn’t been as stellar as I thought it would be.
With 3D Systems landing its 3D printers in big box stores like Staples (SPLS) and all the fuss at CES, it looked like momentum was building. There have been some interesting developments like Stratasys buying Makerbot, but outside of its industrial applications, 3D printing remains a hobbyist activity at the consumer level.
I’m chalking this one up to bad timing. I still think 3D printing is going to blow up in a big way, but it might take another year or two for industry consolidation, retail pricing, patent scuffles and other obstacles to be resolved.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.