According to a new report by iData Research, ultrasound OEMs are likely to see stable, reliable growth in the coming years, while specialised 3D and 4D imaging technology will shape the market. Already a billion-dollar industry in the U.S., the ultrasound imaging equipment market is projected to pass the $2 billion mark by 2020.
“Medical device markets are often volatile, spiking up and down with FDA approvals and reimbursement changes,” explains Dr. Kamran Zamanian, CEO of iData Research. “But, the ultrasound equipment market shows unusual stability. A noticeable, steady level of growth is projected.”
Market stability comes from cardiology and radiology ultrasound equipment sales. These markets make up more than half of the U.S. ultrasound equipment market as a whole, and are supported by regular replacement sales. The use of ultrasound technology is an accepted, necessary component of the U.S. healthcare system.
However, the market as a whole is driven by new, groundbreaking technologies. Point of care ultrasound device sales will see significant growth in the future, driven by new, radiation-free needle placement procedures. For example, the number of ultrasound procedures performed by anesthesiologists more than doubled between 2010 and 2013.
“General imaging” devices usually used by radiology departments are significantly expensive. A trend towards smaller, specialized devices withinin hospital budgets is being seen. Additionally, radiology ultrasound equipment sales are limited by the increasing number of hospital departments performing their own ultrasound exams, and not sending patients to radiology.
With regards to point of care ultrasound equipment market segments for anesthesiology and musculoskeletal applications, physicians are using ultrasound to improve the accuracy of needle placement procedures. Costly radiation-based imaging techniques are being replaced with real-time, cost-effective ultrasound imaging.
Ultrasound imaging equipment market leaders such as GE Healthcare, SonoSite, and Philips account for more than half of the market. These companies can likely expect stable revenues from replacement sales in the future. However, some investors are taking note of the more than 15 other notable ultrasound equipment companies identified by iData Research. These companies include Zonare, Hitachi Aloka, Esaote, Analogic, Toshiba, Siemens Healthcare, U-Systems and Terason, Mindray, amongst others. Mergers and acquisitions are anticipated to change the competitive landscape as new technologies are developed and market leaders seek to secure their dominance.