The United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Singapore, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are consistently among the top countries in web searches for 3D printers. Popular web searches could help forecast the trend of underlying consumer demand. Estimates from Google AdWords search data reveal that 51 % of searches are originating from North America, with at least 20% of searches having Canadian origin. In Google trend searches (regardless of search term variations used), the aggregate interest in 3D printing searches has grown rapidly from 2011 onwards. For instance, the term “3d printer price’’ has a very steep rise in searches over the past two years. Interestingly in this very search term, Canada ranks at the top in the world in terms of proportion of searches.
Another informational indicator for the 3D industry is the stock market. Stock prices portend future expectations about the state of the underlying industry. They also portray a similar pattern of exuberance as those of web searches. The price-earnings multiples of leading 3D companies such as 3D systems, Stratasys or PTC are 100x above their earnings. Higher future earnings expectations on the back of rising demand for 3D printers and products, as well as near expirations of key patents, appear among the main causes for this bull-run on 3D stocks.