Global Ultrasound Market in 2018 – End of Year Update

Publication Date: 20/11/2018

Written by

Simon Harris

The global ultrasound market is on track for a strong year, with the annual revenue growth rate forecast to reach 6.6%, notably higher than the 5.1% growth we predicted at the start of the year (2018 Set to be a Strong Year for Global Ultrasound Market, January 2018). The EMEA and Americas markets are forecast to grow at mid-single-digit rates, slightly faster than our January forecast, with Asia remaining the fastest growing market, largely driven by China.┬áIn fact, this year China overtook the US to become the world’s biggest market for ultrasound equipment.

The regional growth trends and the variances to our January forecast are discussed below.

US: Radiology and Cardiology the Main Growth Drivers in 2018

The 2018 growth rate for the US market has been revised up from 3-4% to 5%. Following a market contraction in 2017, the Radiology market is forecast to grow at a double-digit rate in 2018, largely due to pent-up demand from the previous year. The release of new premium ultrasound platforms for general imaging applications from some of the major vendors will also boost growth. The Cardiology market is also forecast to perform well in 2018, with high single-digit growth.

Following a strong year in 2017, the Women’s Health market is forecast to decline in 2018, due to weaker demand from OB/GYN customers. Breast imaging remains a growth opportunity as ultrasound gains market share from other imaging modalities in both screening and diagnosis.

The point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) market continues to perform well and is forecast to grow at a mid-single-digit rate. The main growth drivers are the increasing awareness and usage of ultrasound in procedural applications, such as anaesthesia and vascular access, and the uptake of ultraportable handheld devices in emergency medicine applications.

Brazil: Another Strong Year, but Will it Last?

In 2017 Brazil emerged from its worst ever recession and the ultrasound market grew by more than 20%. The cyclical upswing has continued into 2018 with double-digit growth forecast. Whilst another year of growth is forecast for 2019, the economic recovery remains fragile with many economists calling for urgent fiscal reforms to avoid another recession. With public debt projected to rise from today’s 75% of GDP to 82% by 2022, the newly elected right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro, is expected to put pressure on public spending, which will likely impact investment in health care.

Western Europe: Pockets of Growth in a Low Growth Environment

In January we forecast an uptick in demand for ultrasound equipment in Western Europe on the back of an improving economy. Whilst the market is on track for low single-digit growth, this growth is by no means uniform across the region. The Nordics and Southern Europe are forecast to be the fastest growing markets, with France and Italy holding back the regional growth rate, largely due to the timing of national tenders. Following several years of decline, the UK market is forecast to return to growth in 2018. However, with the prospects of a “no-deal” Brexit looking increasingly likely, this growth may prove to be short-lived.

Eastern Europe: EU Funding and a Strong Economy Drive Growth

In 2017, the ultrasound market experienced exceptionally strong growth in several of the new EU member states, most notably Poland, on the back of faster disbursements of EU structural funds for health care projects and strong economic growth. 2018 will be another strong year, but the annual growth rate is forecast to drop-off in the coming years as the EU has announced that it plans to shift tens of billions of euros in funding away from central and eastern Europe to the countries hit hard by the financial crisis, such as Spain and Greece.

The Russian ultrasound market grew strongly in 2017 following a period of market contraction in the previous years. The recovery has continued into 2018 and the market is forecast to grow by around 10%, slightly faster than the high single-digit growth we forecast in January.

Middle East: Turkish Delight in a Down Market

The Saudi Arabian market returned to strong growth in 2017, largely on the back of improving oil prices. However, this growth was short-lived and the market contracted in the first half of this year. In other parts of the Middle East, major social, political and economic disturbances continue to negatively impact the ultrasound market. In our January forecast we assumed that strengthening oil prices would lead to a recovery in the Middle East ultrasound market, but this failed to materialise, and another year of decline is now forecast for 2018.

Turkey continues to represent a growth opportunity in the region, with growth driven by the Turkish government’s major reform initiative to transform its healthcare system into a universal health coverage model. In fact, Turkey is forecast to be the fastest growing market out of the 28 countries/regions analysed in Signify Research’s report on the global ultrasound market. That said, political and social instability remain serious threats to the longer-term growth prospects of the Turkish market and 2018 is expected to be the peak year for growth.

Africa: Long-Term Growth Potential but Short-Term Volatility

Whilst population demographics, sustained economic growth and increasing urbanisation are all positive factors driving longer-term growth, the African ultrasound market contracted in 2017. This was largely due to the negative impact from regional economic shocks, including the refinancing of the Egyptian economy, and geo-political instability in some parts of the region. In January we forecast the market would grow at a high single-digit rate in 2018 but this has been revised down to mid-single-digit.

India – Unrealised Market Potential

In our January forecast we predicted that the Indian ultrasound market would grow at a double-digit rate in 2018, driven by the government’s efforts to expand healthcare coverage, increasing private sector spending and a growing medical tourism industry. Whilst these underlying growth drivers remain true, we have revised our 2018 forecast to 8.5%. The Indian ultrasound market remains highly cost sensitive, with most growth coming from the value segment in OB/GYN and general imaging applications. The market for departmental/speciality ultrasound equipment is small and at a very nascent stage, with more market education needed before this potential is realised.

A growing population of more than 1.2 billion people, age demographics, as well as sustained economic growth are expected to drive strong long-term growth for the Indian ultrasound market. India is now the world’s third largest economy (in purchasing parity terms) and it is likely to play an increasingly important role in the global ultrasound market in the coming years.

China: The World’s Largest Market for Ultrasound Equipment

As we predicted in January, the Chinese ultrasound market cooled in 2018 after a strong year in 2017. That said, the market is still on track to grow at a double-digit rate this year. Despite slowing demand at Level 3 hospitals, most of which are now well equipped with ultrasound equipment, there is still ample room for market expansion at Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals as the government strives for universal health care. In the short-term, China will remain the fastest-growing ultrasound market of all large economies, but with the annual growth rate cooling, it is likely to lose this title to India in the coming years.

The Outlook for 2019

2019 is forecast to be another strong year for the global ultrasound market, although the regional distribution of growth will be quite different. The EMEA market is forecast to grow faster than in 2018, on the back of stronger growth in Western Europe as the French and Italian markets return to growth, improving market conditions in the Middle East and Africa, and sustained growth in Eastern Europe. Conversely, slower growth is forecast for the Americas market, with both the North American and Latin American markets forecast to grow slower than in 2018. The Asia market is forecast to grow at a similar rate as in 2018, with a recovery in Japan and faster growth in India compensating for a slowdown in China.

About Signify Research

Signify Research is an independent supplier of market intelligence and consultancy to the global healthcare technology industry. Our major coverage areas are Healthcare IT, Medical Imaging and Digital Health. Our clients include technology vendors, healthcare providers and payers, management consultants and investors. Signify Research is headquartered in Cranfield, UK.

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