3D Printing in the Sports Apparel Market

Part
01
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Part
01

3D Printing - Market Size

Based on market reports and the calculations outlined below, the market size for the global 3D-printed footwear was between $541.77 million and $831.4 million in 2018. The footwear industry will be among the biggest benefactors of additive manufacturing (3D-printing), only second to the eyewear industry. Consequentially, the 3D-printed footwear market will likely represent a significant portion of the 3D-printed apparel industry.

3D-printed Footwear Market

  • According to research by Technavio, the global 3D-printed footwear market will grow by 19% between 2019 and 2023.
  • The report estimates that the 19% incremental growth will be equivalent to $751.08 million. Based on the calculations presented in the last part of the strategy section, if the global 3D-printed footwear market will grow by $751.08 million during the period 2019-2023, and the CAGR during this forecast period is 19.0%, then it can be computed that the global 3D-printed footwear market will grow from $541.77 million in 2018 to $1.29 billion by 2023.
  • According to another report available on AP News, the 3D-printed footwear market will reach about $5.9 billion in 2029 growing at a CAGR of 19.5% from 2019.
  • Using a Reverse CAGR calculator, and taking the 2018 as the base year, the market size in 2019 would be about $831.4 million.
  • The second report further adds that the global 3D-printed footwear market will be about $1 billion in 2023.
  • The players that are likely to drive the global 3D-printed footwear market include Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, 3D Systems, Stratasys, Superfeet, Kings 3D, Carbon, and New Balance, among others.
  • Additionally, it is estimated that the 3D-printed footwear industry will represent about 1.5% of total global footwear revenues by 2029.
  • While the two estimates seem to agree on the market size for the global 3D-printed footwear industry (about $1 billion) in 2023, there seems to be a significant disparity between the estimated present values.
  • Furthermore, research indicates that the footwear industry is among the biggest benefactors of additive manufacturing (3D-printing), only second to the eyewear industry. This means that the footwear market represents a significant portion of the 3D-printed apparel industry.

3D Printing Market

  • According to Statista, the global 3D printing market was about $4.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $21 billion in 2021.
  • The market was valued at $5.7 billion, $6.9 billion, $8.3 billion, $10 billion, and $12 billion in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. It is estimated that the market would reach $14.5 billion and $17.5 billion in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
  • The key players in the overall 3D printing market are Stratasys, 3D Systems, Envisiontec, Protolabs, EOS GmbH, Mcor Technologies, Ultimaker, Renishaw, and Ge Additive, among others.
  • Notably, none of the top players are in the sports apparel industry (or the consumer goods segment), which would indicate that the industry still lags behind other players in the adoption of the technology.
  • Compared, even with the higher estimate of the size of the 3D-printed footwear industry in 2018 ($831.4 million), the market is still far below the overall 3D printing industry.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

As mentioned in the strategy phase, there is very little information on the size of the 3D printing market in the sports apparel industry as most reports are behind paywalls. However, the research team leveraged paywalled to provide key insights on the subject. We believe that the information is not readily available because this is a relatively new industry. We have provided insights on the global 3D-printed footwear market and the global 3D printing market.

Below are our calculations to determine the estimated size of the global 3D-printed footwear market:
If the global 3D-printed footwear market will grow by $751.08 million during the period 2019-2023, and the CAGR during this forecast period is 19.0%, we conducted the following calculations to determine the estimated present value.

((FV/(FV-751.08 million))^(1/(2023-2018))-1 = 0.19
(FV/(FV-751.08 million))^(1/5)-1 = 0.19
(FV/(FV-751.08 million))^(1/5) = 1.19
(FV/(FV-751.08 million)) = (1.19)^5
(FV/(FV-751.08 million)) = 2.3863536599
FV = (2.3863536599)*(FV-751.08 million)
FV = 2.3863536599FV - 1,792.34250688 million
1.3863536599FV = 1,792.34250688
FV = 1,292.84652158 million
PV = 1,292.84652158 million - 751.08 million
PV = 541.76652158 million
Part
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Part
02

3D Printing - Growth

Previous research on the market size of the 3D printing industry in sportswear highlights that footwear companies, like Adidas, Nike, and New Balance, are key players in the market. The projections indicate that Adidas' revenues will grow by 1% annually from 2019 to 2030. The 3D printing technology is likely to increase production efficiency for New Balance and with lower associated costs. This eventually will result in lower shipping costs leading to an increase in global demand for 3D printed sports apparel products.

Adidas

  • The global 3D printing market in 2018 was valued at $10.87 billion and is projected to reach $44.39 billion by 2025. This represents an annual growth rate of 21.8% from 2019 to 2025.
  • Adidas, which is a leading sports company in 3D printing, collaborated with Carbon resulting in the production of 100, 000 pairs of the Futurecraft 4D sneakers in 2018.
  • Adidas is expected to release another version of the 3D sneaker, the Alphaedge 4d. In 2017, Adidas released the shoe, Y-3 which was created by the Japanese designer Yahji Yamamoto.
  • The Y-3 sneaker is an extension of the Futurecraft 4D series, which was nominated for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Award for the category Consumer Product of the year.
  • The successful launch of these products has compelled Adidas to produce more 3D printed sneakers.
  • Assuming stability in macroeconomic conditions, ADIDAS projected that the global sports industry will grow at a single-digit rate in 2019.
  • The growth of the sport industry is driven by demand from North America, which is the biggest market size in the world.
  • However, in developing economies, the demand for the sneakers is likely to be the result of rapid modernization and the growing middle class, which will result in a higher demand for the 3D products.
  • Adidas projects that labor market conditions will also lead to a rise in the demand for sporting goods including the 3D products.
  • The management of Adidas projected that the growth rate of Adidas sales will be 5-8% in 2019, which will be driven by the market segments. However, the revenue is projected to grow by 4%.
  • The rising sports participation rate is expected to increase the demand for the Adidas products.
  • The management of Adidas has confidence that the current earnings form a basis for a better financial outlook and demand for the Adidas 3D products.

New Balance

  • New Balance is a multinational footwear maker, which rivals Adidas. It has adopted its TripleCell 3D printing platform with the launch of a new sneaker named FuelCell Echo Triple in 2019.
  • New Balance collaborated with the 3D printer, OEM Formlabs in 2017. This led to an exclusive partnership to produce high performance athletic footwear.
  • Following the public announcement that the 990 Sport TripleCell would commence shipping to the United States, the product immediately experienced a high demand and was sold within a short time. Consequently, New Balance introduced the FuelCell Echo Triple as a product that augments the 990 Sport TripleCell.
  • The projected growth of New Balance in 2020 is expected to come from an increase in the production of the TripleCell collection and expansion of the manufacturing facilities.
  • Another reason for expected increase in growth is that the 3D technology is likely to increase production efficiency and lower costs. This eventually will result in lower shipping costs to leading to an increase in global demand.
  • New Balance intends to promote local demand and production first in Massachusetts to prevent drastic decline in sales dues to changing world macroeconomic factors.

Research Methodology

This research focuses on sport apparel companies that have adopted the 3D printing technique on a large scale in the manufacture of their products namely Adidas and New Balance. We provide evidence of how these companies are projected to perform based on annual reports, financial statements, speeches, financial market performance, world economic outlook reports and consumer confidence reports. These financial statements mostly mentioned the current state of the company and did not provide robust forecasts of the performance. For this reason, we were able to obtain company revenues data from Statista (Adidas) and Privco (New Balance) to produce growth forecasts.


Part
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Part
03

3D Printing - Key Players

New Balance, Reebok, and ECCO are the other key players in the 3D-printed sportswear market apart from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.

New Balance

  • Sportswear brand New Balance was identified by SmarTech Publishing, a leading market research provider in the 3D printing space, as one of five leading footwear manufacturers that are utilizing 3D printing. The brand was mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, which were already identified as key players in the 3D-printed sportswear space.
  • New Balance was mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour in an article discussing 3D-printed sneakers that are gaining traction.
  • The brand was also identified by market research firm Technavio as one of the five key players in the global 3D-printed footwear market. The brand was mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.
  • The brand has partnered with 3D printing company Formlabs to develop high-performance and innovative materials, hardware, and processes such as the TripleCell platform and the new photopolymer resin Rebound Resin. The Rebound Resin, which can be used to produce "a springy, resilient structure," promises durability, while the TripleCell platform, which enables on-demand and customizable manufacturing, promises seamless and efficient data-to-design digital manufacturing.
  • With its 3D printing technologies, New Balance promises high-performance sports shoes and offers on-demand and customizable manufacturing.

Reebok

  • Sportswear brand Reebok was identified by SmarTech Publishing as one of five leading footwear manufacturers that are utilizing 3D printing. The brand was mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.
  • Reebok, with its 3D-printing Liquid Factory and its liquid and Flexweave materials, promises shoes that are lighter and more comfortable and that offer improved traction and cushioning.
  • Reebok touts that, with its Liquid Factory process, it is capable of creating the entire shoe (outsole, cushioning systems, and cushioning) through 3D printing.

ECCO

  • ECCO, a footwear manufacturer whose product portfolio includes sports shoes, was identified by Technavio as one of the five key players in the global 3D-printed footwear market. The brand was mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.
  • In an article published by 3D Printing Industry, a site that offers additive manufacturing news, ECCO was cited as an emerging contender in the market for 3D-printed sneakers.

Research Strategy

Before researching other key players in the 3D-printed sportswear space, we first examined the 3D-printed sportswear products that Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, the three key players that were already identified, have brought to market or have started exploring. We performed this step to verify the types of products that the global 3D-printed sportswear market encompasses. Our examination of these three brands' websites revealed that these three brands are using 3D printing in the development of innovative shoes or footwear. We were able to confirm as well, through a report on the global sportswear market by market research firm Grand View Research, that sportswear is inclusive of sports shoes and sports clothing.

To determine the other key players apart from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, we identified the top sportswear brands in the world and researched these brands individually for information about these brands' involvement in the 3D printing space. With this strategy, we were able to identify New Balance, Reebok, and ECCO as the other key players in the 3D-printed sportswear market. Articles published by 3D Printing Media Network, a site that offers 3D printing news, Additive Manufacturing, a site that offers additive manufacturing news, and Technavio, a market research firm, together identify New Balance, Reebok, and ECCO as key players alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. We were able to gather insights about these brands' value proposition by examining the press coverage of these brands' activities in the 3D-printed sportswear space. We assumed that the value proposition of interest is the brand's value proposition in relation to the 3D-printed sportswear space, not the brand's overall value proposition.

The revenues of these brands that can be attributed to these brands' 3D-printed sportswear businesses could not be reliably determined given the lack of relevant and comparable quantitative data in the public domain. The 3D-printed sportswear market is a nascent industry, and the brands do not disclose granular financial data. Nevertheless, we are certain that New Balance, Reebok, and ECCO are also key players in the space because they are often mentioned alongside Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour in articles discussing 3D-printed sportswear products. As earlier mentioned, there are articles that readily indicate these brands as key players.
Part
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Part
04

3D Printing - Competitive Analysis 1

Under Armour manufactures 3D printed midsoles using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology. Nike offers 3D printed mass customized uppers, midsoles, and custom football cleats. Adidas plans to develop new 3D printing technology that can print a shoe within 15-minutes.

Overview

  • The 3D printed footwear market is projected to reach $6.3 billion over the next 10 years.
  • The five leading footwear companies (Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, and New Balance) are investing in 3D printing technology to develop different footwear parts using efficient technology and new production materials.
  • The race among these companies is to offer products that fit better, perform faster, and are lighter in weight.
  • Retail prices for 3D printed shoes range from $300 to over $5,000 per pair.


1) Under Armour (UA)

Company Overview

  • Under Armour, Inc. is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2018, the company generated annual revenue of $5.2 billion.
  • Wholesale revenue contributes nearly 60% of the total revenue. Further, the apparel category provides 70% of annual revenue, followed by the footwear category at 21.1% and accessories category at 8.1%.
  • Under Armour (UA) is one of the leading inventor, manufacturer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, accessories, and footwear for athletes.
  • The company develops products for all athletes to perform better. Further, the company offers the world's largest digitally-connected community for health and fitness enthusiasts.

3D Printed Products

  • The company offers limited edition midsoles developed using SLS technology and TPU.
  • UA introduced the first range of 3D printed footwear in 2016, under its brand of Architech. The second brand was introduced in 2017 as the UA Futurist.
  • The company managed to sell 96 pairs of Architech series, followed by 410 pairs for updated 3D printed shoe series. In 2019 the company manufactured a batch of 2,000 pairs for its Futurist series.

Competitive Advantage

Target Market


2) Nike

Company Overview

3D Printed Products

Competitive Advantage

Target Market


3) Adidas

Company Overview

  • Adidas is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In 2018, the company generated sales of more than €21.9 billion ($24.4 billion).
  • In 2018, Adidas produced more than 900 million sports and lifestyle products. The mission of the company is to be "the best sports company in the world."
  • Adidas' vision is to custom print a 3D shoe within 15 minutes. Further, the company hopes to produce nearly 50 million pairs using 3D printing in the future.

3D Printed Products

Competitive Advantage

Target Market

  • The company markets its 3D printed products by associating technology with the 'pinnacle of sports'.
  • Adidas is targeting the masses by designing high-performance footwear to meet the demand for 'every kind of athlete.'
Part
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Part
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3D Printing - Competitive Analysis 2

New Balance, Reebok, and ECCO use 3D-printing technology in their footwear products, mainly on the sole part of the shoes. These platforms include TripleCell by New Balance, Liquid Factory by Reebok, and Quant-U by ECCO.

ECCO

Overview

  • ECCO is a world-leading manufacturer of footwear founded in 1963 and headquartered in Bredebro, South Denmark. The company employs approximately 21,300 individuals and has a market that spans over 99 countries around the world.
  • Hanni Toosbuy Kasprzak is the chairman of ECCO, and the company generated net sales of €1.31 billion ($1.46 billion) in the 2018 fiscal year.

3D printed product offerings

Competitive advantage

  • ECCO produces its own materials and manufactures 80% of its products in factories around the world, and owning and controlling the entire value chain gives them huge flexibility and allows them to maintain the highest levels of quality, which provides them a higher competitive advantage over its competitors.

Target market

  • The company targets men and women from the upper-middle class and upper class to offer their products.


Reebok

Overview

3D printed product offerings

  • Reebok introduced its first line of 3D-printed shoes in 2016 with its Liquid Factory technology called Liquid Speed, which was a limited run of 300 shoes.
  • Then the company recently introduced a new shoe offering known as the Liquid Floatride Run, which uses the same technology, and it is the only available 3D-printed offering up to date.

Competitive advantage

  • Reebok has created a unique position by celebrating the authenticity and individuality of people, which has made them a people-centric brand and it has gained a competitive advantage through the strength of its parent company Adidas, which has helped the company to target new markets efficiently and gain big advertising and marketing investments.

Target market


New Balance

Overview

  • New Balance is a footwear, apparel, and accessory manufacturer founded in 1906 and headquartered in Brighton, MA. The company employs approximately 8000 individuals and has a market that spans over 120 countries.
  • New Balance generated a revenue of $4.1 billion in the 2018 fiscal year. The company's mission is to support the performance of athletes with an unparalleled focus on quality and craftsmanship.

3D printed product offerings

Competitive advantage

  • According to New Balance, their competitive advantage lies in the promotion of environmental sustainability practices in its manufacturing process, which appeals to most of its sports enthusiastic target market. The company also focus on catering to the needs of small retailers to tap small service type of customers, which give them room for establishing good customer relationships in various retail outlets.

Target market

Part
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Part
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3D Printing - Trends

We looked for, but did not find, any information about trends in the 3D printing market for sports apparel, so we expanded the scope of our research to trends in the 3D printing market for apparel in general. Three trends in the 3D printing market for apparel are (1) that most clothing items being made are in the luxury segment, (2) mesh systems are being used to construct 3D-printed clothing, and (3) a strong focus on sustainability. Though "3D printing in textiles is still at a conceptual stage" (and thus information about trends was very sparse), we were able to identify trends for 3D-printed apparel.

Current 3D-Printed Apparel Trends

1. Most Apparel Is Being Made for the Luxury Segment

  • A current trend in the 3D printing market for apparel is that most clothing items being made are in the luxury segment.
  • As such, most 3D-printed clothing appears on fashion runways.
  • As was noted in an article, "3D printed apparel is still mostly reserved for runway show[s]" where innovative, fashion designs abound. On a related note, " 3D printing of clothing gravitates towards contemporary design."
  • We determined that this is a trend because the information provided by two or more, reputable sources (Stratasys, All3DP, and Future Work Institute) directly supported that conclusion.
  • Though this trend has thus far been mostly limited to fashion shows, the Director of Art, Design, and Fashion for industry source Stratasys opined that "[w]ithin the next two years, I believe consumers will be able to purchase an array of 3D-printed garments from high-fashion brands."
  • Pringle of Scotland and Louis Vuitton are brands manifesting this trend.

2. Mesh Systems Used to Construct 3D-Printed Clothing

  • A second, current trend in the 3D printing market for apparel is that mesh systems are being used to construct 3D-printed clothing.
  • We determined that this is a trend because the information provided by at least two, reputable industry sources (All3DP and Sculpteo) directly supported that conclusion.
  • In an article titled "2019 State of the Art in 3D Printed Fashion[,]" it was stated that "most 3D printed garments are typically built using mesh systems, which are individually 3D printed and later assembled."
  • The reason mesh systems are used for constructing 3D-printed clothes is because they help to make the items more flexible (and thus less rigid, which has been a factor constraining advances in 3D printing for apparel).
  • XYZ Workshop and Ultimaker are brands manifesting this trend. Danit Peleg is a fashion designer who manifests this trend.

3. Strong Focus on Sustainability

  • A third, current trend in the 3D printing market for apparel is the strong focus on sustainability.
  • We determined that this is a trend because the information provided by at least two, reputable industry sources (Sculpteo and To Buy a 3D Printer) directly supported that conclusion.
  • As was stated in an article, "many 3D printed garments are made from recyclable additives."
  • In an article from industry source Sculpteo, it was noted that "now, the reasons why designers are choosing this 3D printing are changing: it is becoming important to use 3D printing for sustainable and eco-friendly purposes."
  • Brands that are manifesting this trend include Bottletop, Heisel, and Balenciaga.

Research Strategy

We looked for, but did not find, any information about trends in the 3D printing market for sports apparel. Thus, we expanded the scope of our research to trends in the 3D printing market for apparel in general. Even after doing so, information about trends in the 3D printing market for apparel was very sparse because "3D printing in textiles is still at a conceptual stage." In fact, after conducting extensive research and reviewing a substantial number of sources, not one source outright stated "trends" within 3D printing for apparel. However, the information discussed in the sources we cited to identified such trends, but just didn't actually use the word "trends." Most of the sources we consulted in our research were industry sources such as Textile Today, Just Style, and All3DP.
Part
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Part
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3D Printing - Key Drivers

Four key drivers of 3D printing applications in the sports/general apparel industries are customization, design creativity, sustainability, and quicker innovation/turnaround times. Information about key drivers specifically regarding the sports apparel industry was very limited, but we included the applicable information we found about such (and noted that it's specific to sports apparel). Due to that limited information available, we also expanded the scope of our research to include key drivers pertaining to the overall apparel industry.

Key Drivers of 3D-Printed Apparel

1. Customization

  • The ability to customize apparel to precisely fit a particular person is a key driver of 3D printing applications in both the sports and general apparel industries.
  • As an expert in 3D-printed apparel stated, "3D-printed fitness gear has some serious pros, the most obvious of which is customization."
  • 3D printing allows apparel to be made in non-traditional forms and from unique materials, which furthers the level of customization that's possible to achieve.
  • This key driver is impacting industry growth by providing a new vehicle for original apparel to be made with impeccable precision to a person's specific measurements.

2. Design Creativity & Innovation

  • A key driver of 3D printing applications in the general apparel industry is that many designers are fascinated by the seemingly infinite range of possibilities for creative and innovative apparel designs and are thus debuting their new, groundbreaking designs.
  • Maartje Dijkstra (a prominent fashion design from the Netherlands) "uses 3D printing to create surreal creations that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. " His designs have also been described as "otherworldly." He stated that 3D printing enables him to both "create little elements and repeat it to make a fabric that you can’t buy in the store" and "be more progressive."
  • This key driver is impacting industry growth by appearing on fashion runways at prominent, industry events such as New York Fashion Week, and is thus laying the groundwork for the future of clothing by pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the apparel industry.

3. Sustainability

  • Sustainability is a key driver of 3D printing applications in the general apparel industry.
  • Many fashion companies and fashion buyers alike are becoming increasingly aware of and concerned about their environmental impact.
  • The fashion industry is regarded as among the key contributors to adverse environmental impacts and has received ample criticism about such.
  • This key driver is impact industry growth in that an increasing number of fashion companies are embracing environmentally friendly and clean technologies (including 3D printing) in their manufacturing processes.
  • A prominent designer of 3D-printed clothing, Julia Daviy, is widely recognized for her emphasis on sustainability. She said that one of the reasons she first decided to use 3D printing for her designs was that she sought a sustainable method through which to make clothes and one that did not create waste (which is a huge benefit of 3D-printed apparel).

4. Quicker Innovation & Turnaround Times

  • Another key driver of 3D printing applications in the general apparel industry is that it allows for quicker innovation among designers and shorter turnaround times for production.
  • With regard to quicker innovation, 3D-printing allows for apparel prototypes to be made rapidly and even on-demand, which ultimately helps to get the final product completed faster.
  • Quicker innovation is important to fashion companies because styles are changing faster than they used to and "the lifespan of seasonal collections has decreased over the years. " 3D printing enables fashion companies "to bring new styles to stores as quickly and efficiently as possible[, which] is a prime determinant of any apparel maker’s . . . success." As a result, this key driver is impacting industry growth in that companies can react quicker to changing style preferences and get new products to market faster, in order to bolster their bottom lines.

Research Strategy

We began our research by looking for key drivers of 3D-printed sports apparel specifically. We were able to find a very limited amount of information about key drivers specifically pertaining to sports apparel, as the vast majority of the information pertained to the overall apparel industry. We included all the relevant insights we found about key drivers specifically pertaining to the sports apparel industry. Due to that limitation, we expanded the scope of our research to focus on key drivers pertaining to the overall apparel industry. We looked for and found that information in articles published by a mix of industry and media sources, such as Fashion United, All3DP, Sculpteo, and Forbes, among others. The information in those articles also provided insights into how the key drivers are impacting industry growth.
Part
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Part
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3D Printing - User Journey 1

Major sporting brands such as Nike, Under Armour, New Balance, and Adidas have embraced technology that allows for the 3D printing of sports apparel, and consumers are responding enthusiastically. Athletes believe 3D-printed apparel has the potential to provide personalized enhancements in their athletic performance. The process of 3D printing is time-efficient and somewhat sustainable, both qualities that are important to today's consumer. Despite the tangible benefits for athletic users, there is concern about the performance enhancing aspects of 3D printed sportswear and the risk of apparel doping in competitive sports. Most athletes, competitive or recreational, also face the obstacle of the exorbitant cost of 3D printed apparel. Until the 3D printing market evolves globally, purchasing this type of apparel may be cost-prohibitive for most sports enthusiasts.

    WHY USERS PREFER 3D PRINTED SPORTS APPAREL

    • 3D technology allows for an unparalleled, customized fit. Consumers appreciate having an article of sportswear that has been specifically created for their unique bodies. Users of 3D printed sportswear choose this method of apparel design because every size customer's needs are met. Under Armour utilizes volumetric avatars to determine where volume is held within the body, thus creating the perfect fit for every size user.
    • In addition to brand recognition. "athlete consumers typically desire products that will improve performance." Because 3D printing allows for enhancements in athletic performance, athletes are interested in purchasing this type of apparel.
    • Consumers are also pleased that 3D clothing may be designed, created and purchased more quickly than articles produced using the traditional apparel design process. According to Pieter Strikwerda, CEO and founder of 3DPrinting.com, this is because "it requires less production time from the idea to the finished product." Design time is reduced by using avatars based on 3D body measurements, thus eliminating the need for the time-consuming process of prototyping.
    • Today's consumer is also attracted to the sustainability of 3D printing. The process yields little waste, as compared to the 35% of fabric that is typically left over in the traditional production process

    USER INTERACTIONS WITH 3D TECHNOLOGY

    • The consumer is typically required to have only one encounter with the design company, during which one body scan allows the designer to create sportswear with the perfect fit and function.
    • Customers can avoid a visit to the store by using 3D body scanning apps to interact with the apparel company.
    • If a user owns a 3D printer capable of producing apparel, the apparel company can email the customer a printable design. This enables users to print their clothing from the comfort of their own homes.

    USER BEHAVIORS WHEN WEARING 3D PRINTED APPAREL

    • Athletes exhibit improved athletic performance when wearing 3D printed sportswear. This is achieved by the technology's capability to cater designs based on the type of movements and body types associated with a particular sport. Under Armour, for example, works with sport-specific avatars to determine how various customer body shapes fit into new designs. The company considers that two athletes may be a size medium, but the shape and size of a runner versus a rugby player require completely different designs.
    • Athletes achieve a heightened sense of comfort when wearing 3D printed sportswear in warm conditions. They experience less irritation from sweat, as 3D fabric is capable of repelling heat and the pattern is designed for better airflow.
    • Users experience greater ease of movement due to the technology's ability to engineer a multi-dimensional pattern that considers the location of joints. 3D printed sportswear moves with the body because the design incorporates the areas under the most strain.
    • Athletes may experience greater self-confidence and motivation when wearing 3D printed apparel. One company, Tredfashions, produces sportswear for bodybuilders. In advertising their apparel, they claim that their 3D shirts reflect an athlete's "addiction and discipline to the gym" and that wearing their shirts will push athletes to "work harder in the gym."

    PAIN POINTS WITH 3D PRINTED SPORTSWEAR

    • Users of 3D printed sportswear who engage in formal competitions run the risk of being accused of apparel doping. 3D printed athletic wear is frequently altered to minimize air resistance to enhance the speed of cyclists, swimmers, and runners. When athletes have an edge over their competitors, the door is opened for a doping investigation.
    • Many users are unable to purchase 3D printed apparel due to its prohibitive cost. For example, at one 3D apparel company in Boston, Ministry of Supply, a consumer may purchase a custom, on-demand, 3D printed blazer for approximately $345. As the market expands, costs will inevitably decrease for consumers.

    RESEARCH STRATEGY

      In order to carry out this research, we analyzed the consumers of 3D printed sportswear for several leading sports apparel brands, including Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and Under Armour. This was achieved by analyzing the marketing of 3D sportswear as well as by reviewing the research findings from a Maker Lab at a major research University. We considered the consumer viewpoint of non-athletic 3D printed apparel to be transferable to sportswear. As such, data regarding consumer behavior in overall 3D apparel industry was also considered. We suggest that further research regarding the consumer experience of using 3D printers at home will be warranted in the near future, as 3D printers become more accessible to consumers.































Part
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Part
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3D Printing - User Journey 2

Consumers tend to be initially interested in 3D printed clothing due to its customizable nature, and can be motivated to purchase 3D printed clothing based on the qualities of the apparel itself. A typical purchaser of 3D printed clothing is a fashion-forward female millennial.

User Interest

  • Users may be interested in 3D printed apparel over traditional clothing because 3D printed clothing eventually will be more breathable, allow for more freedom of movement, and eliminate wrinkles.
  • Users are most interested in the customizable nature of 3D printed apparel, as well as the ability of 3D printed apparel to fit perfectly, be aesthetically pleasing, and support self-expression.

User Interaction

  • Current 3D printed garments are limited to fashion shows, museums, or art shows. Therefore, the consumer is only able to interact with these garments if they attend fashion or art shows.

Motivations for Purchase

  • Consumers are most motivated to purchase 3D printed apparel based on the qualities of the apparel itself — its aesthetics and whether it fits the consumer's lifestyle needs — with only limited influence coming from social factors.
  • Consumers are most interested in purchasing 3D printed accessories, as opposed to 3D printed garments.
  • Dominant reasons for not purchasing 3D printed clothing include it not being comfortable and not allowing for free movement.

Consumer Profile

Pain Points

  • Current 3D printed clothing is currently uncomfortable to wear due to fabric that can be hard to move in and can stick to skin.
  • Additionally, 3D printed clothing currently takes a lot of assembly work, relying on traditional methods to attach pieces of 3D printed garments together into one wearable piece.
  • Another pain point for 3D printed apparel currently is that the garments are not machine washable.

Research Strategy

Since information on 3D printed sportswear is currently very limited, due to the emerging nature of this product, and in order not to repeat findings already provided in the previous research, the research team expanded the scope of the research from 3D printed sportswear to 3D printed apparel.
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