U.S. ultrasound market saw 2006 revenues of $1.33 billion

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The U.S. ultrasound market hit a record $1.33 billion in 2006, according to a report from Klein Biomedical Consultants Inc. (KBC). The U.S. market accounts for about 30 percent of the global ultrasound market. The report also forecasts that by 2011 the market will reach $1.76 billion, growing at an expected annual rate of 5.8 percent.

Product revenues rose 5.3 percent last year, though upgrades saw a 23 percent drop in upgrades that reduced the overall market growth to 2.6 percent. The cardiology ultrasound market segment was particularly active, surpassing overall radiology ultrasound revenues for the first time in 2006.

"While cardiology ultrasound product revenues grew over 11 percent, the other three traditional markets — radiology, OB/GYN and vascular surgery — showed little, if any change," said Harvey Klein, PhD, KBC president. "Traditional markets accounted for 60 percent of total product sales growth in 2006 while emerging markets contributed the remaining 40 percent.

"The emerging markets grew twice as fast as the overall ultrasound market in product revenues. Such markets as emergency medicine and anesthesiology showed excellent growth. This resulted from strong demand for hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) systems, a market that grew 30 percent," he added.

Klein said that ultrasound leaders overall, including upgrades, were Philips Medical Systems followed by GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions and SonoSite. Considering product revenues by itself, GE was the market leader followed by Philips. The top selling echocardiography system in 2006 was the Philips' iE33.

The report’s market forecast expects that through 2011 traditional markets will grow slowly at a rate of less than three percent, while emerging markets will grow over 16 percent. Sales of PDA-type, hand-operated ultrasound systems could contribute almost one percent to the growth rate of the overall market.

Like 2006, Klein predicts the market leaders in product revenues in 2009 will be, in order: GE, Philips, Siemens and SonoSite.

"I believe there is cautious optimism about the future of the U.S. ultrasound market," said Klein. "The outlook depends on the growth of the emerging markets, the success of HCU systems and on how rapidly the replacement market develops from the introduction of new products and technology in the traditional market segments. Regardless, ultrasound will remain a critical part of the imaging modality mix."