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3D Printing Consumer Market Is Bunk; Jefferies Sees Real Money With Industry

John Seward

The 3D printing industry's consumer segment is over hyped and serious money remains in industrial prototyping education and high-end amateurs, one analyst said Thursday.

To that end, Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) are best-positioned to boost the technology's penetration of industrial and educational markets, according to Jeffries' Jason North, who has a Buy rating on both.

North also likes Proto Labs (NASDAQ: PRLB) for the same reasons, but finds the shares pricey and maintains a Hold rating.

That penetration of credible markets now stands at an estimated nine percent to 23 percent, and should increase as to high as 79 percent in the next three years, North said.

Meanwhile in the consumer market, Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) currently best-selling 3D printer creates plastic bobble heads and figurines -- and that's about it.

Customer complaints cite the device's small size, fragility and lack of color accuracy, said North, who analyzed the company's 3D store launched July 28.

Moreover, only seven percent of the 260 products on Amazon had been reviewed by customers, suggesting a lack of interest.

3D Systems closed Thursday at $49.32; Stratasys at $111.10, with both little changed. Proto Labs fell 1.7 percent to $76.05.

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