Emerging market growth pushes imaging equipment market to $24.1B

For medical imaging equipment vendors, a global perspective is now more critical to success as market participants are no longer able to rely solely on “cash cow” markets, according to an April 25 briefing from healthcare market analysis firm Frost & Sullivan.

The briefing, delivered by Roberto G. Aranibar, senior industry analyst, medical imaging, for Frost & Sullivan, summed the findings in the firm’s “2013 Global Medical Imaging Equipment Market Outlook” report.

In total, the worldwide medical imaging equipment market had an estimated collective revenue of $24.1 billion in 2012, according to Aranibar. One quarter of this market was in North America, 19 percent was in Europe, and 17 percent was in Japan.

While those developed markets were responsible for the bulk of medical imaging equipment revenues, Aranibar pointed out that emerging markets, such as Latin America, the Middle East and much of Asia, constituted 36 percent of the overall market. That proportion has been rising over the past decade and looks to continue its growth in the near future.

Key opportunities to expand revenues in the developed markets include the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the U.S. “The [ACO] model is being adopted rather quickly,” said Aranibar.  “As the number of ACOs in the country grows, you have healthcare provider systems that, in an attempt to attract the best specialists, are really focused on upgrading their facilities with state-of-the-art technologies.”

There also is a looming potential for replacement equipment in developed markets, he added.

In summing the challenges for equipment vendors, Aranibar noted the continued economic concerns affecting the U.S. and much of Europe, though some European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, have relatively strong economic outlooks. These concerns could be partially balanced for vendors by substantial public and private investments in healthcare infrastructure in emerging markets as the middle-class and insured patient populations in those countries expand.

Other U.S.-specific challenges include the new excise tax and cuts to reimbursements for medical imagers.

Aranibar provided a list of trending clinical areas, which included:

  • Breast imaging;
  • Chest CT;
  • Point-of-care ultrasound;
  • Emergency medicine;
  • Robotic-assisted surgical ultrasound; and
  • Neuro-molecular imaging.

Top tier market leaders for 2012 included GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and Siemens Healthcare, who together made up 78 percent of the global market, according to Aranibar. Next tier vendors included Fujifilm Medical Systems, Hitachi Medical Systems and Toshiba Medical Systems.