World Ultrasound Market Set for Record Decline

Publication Date: 05/11/2020

Twenty-twenty has been a tumultuous year for the world ultrasound market due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outlook is for a market decline in almost all countries. The main regional growth trends are discussed below.

North America: US market crippled by COVID-19

The US market experienced low single-digit growth in 2019, which was a slowdown after the high single-digit growth seen in 2018. Two of the main reasons for the lower growth were reduced government purchases, and an overall increase in the age of the installed base of equipment as customers delayed replacement purchases. This was in part because most of the new product introductions over the last couple of years offered few differentiating features and hence did not have the market impact that was expected.

The US market is forecast to to be one of the worst affected markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a double-digit revenue decline forecast for 2020. The temporary closure of private clinics and the postponement of elective procedures, which are often the main source of revenue for hospitals, during stay-at-home orders led to the postponement of new equipment orders. Moreover, sales activity such as on-site product demonstrations has been challenging, and vendors’ new opportunity pipelines dwindled as the year progressed. The US Presidential election in November 2020 will further dampen any signs of a potential market recovery.

Latin America: Mexico will carry the Latin America market in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the LATAM region later than other regions, but the short-term prospects for the ultrasound market are still bleak. The COVID-19 outbreak has been blamed for the depreciation of major currencies in the region, with the Brazilian Real declining by 42% and Mexican Peso by 35% since January 2020. A lack of preventative measures taken by the government has made Brazil one of the worst affected countries by COVID-19. Brazil’s municipal elections, scheduled for November 2020, will further impact the Brazilian market in 2020. The Mexican market is expected to fare better than Brazil, showing the lowest overall decline in the region, with public sector tenders propping-up the market to some extent. Overall however, the LATAM ultrasound market is forecast to decline by almost 20% in 2020.

Western Europe: Leading the way for lung ultrasound

The Western European market has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and most markets are forecast to see a high single-digit decline this year. Two exceptions are Italy and Spain, where large tenders have supported the market. The UK market grew strongly in the first half of the year due to large bulk purchases by the NHS, but the outlook for the second half of the year is less positive. The Western European market is forecast to decline by around 10% in 2020. In general, Western European countries have experienced a higher usage of lung ultrasound over chest radiography or computed tomography during the pandemic compared to the Americas and Asia, meaning that the ultrasound markets in this region will not be as negatively impacted.

Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa: Look to Russia for growth

The Eastern European ultrasound market has suffered less from coronavirus than Western Europe to date, with a low single-digit market decline forecast for 2020. However, the mid-term economic impact of the pandemic may well be worse, as the Eastern European economy is heavily export-dependent. Twenty-twenty was expected to be a softer year for the Russian market as no major tenders were announced at the end of 2019. However, the market has grown strongly in the first half of the year due to emergency tenders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Middle East region has been hit hard by the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plunge in oil prices and various ongoing conflicts. As such, the ultrasound market is forecast to experience a steep decline in 2020.

In Africa, the women’s health market continues to be a growth driver in many countries, and low-end and mid-range systems continue to be the fastest growth product categories. The biggest market in Africa, Egypt, showed signs of recovery in 2019 but has declined in the first half of 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. The next major tender will potentially be announced towards the end of 2020. If the tender slips into 2021, the Egyptian market is likely to experience a large decline this year.

China: Growth continues to slow

The Chinese ultrasound market had been growing at a double-digit rate for an extended period, but growth has been gradually slowing in recent years in conjunction with China’s GDP. The women’s health sector remains weak after the exceptionally strong growth in 2017 and 2018, following the relaxation of the single child policy in October 2015. The cardiology market is growing fastest out of the traditional markets due to the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular disease as a result of an ageing population. China looks to have been less impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more localised outbreaks. Yet, the market is still forecast to experience a mid single-digit decline in 2020.

Japan: From bad to worse for the Japan market in 2020

In October 2019, the government raised consumption tax from 8% to 10% in an attempt to finance escalating social security costs. Many customers brought forward purchases ahead of the tax increasing, including purchases originally intended for 2020. A decline in 2020 was expected due to this tax increase, but it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak and a high single-digit decline is forecast for 2020. The reduced sales activity and product demonstrations alongside the postponement of major conferences had a major impact on the market in Q2, when many purchase decisions in Japan are made.

Southeast Asia: Political instability hampers recovery

The Southeast Asian countries have not been as impacted as the other regions by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, political issues have held back the ultrasound market in some countries. In Malaysia, a $30M government dispute relating to purchases for equipment to combat COVID-19 has resulted in postponed funding for ultrasound units to fight the outbreak. The unstable government in Thailand has exacerbated the market decline in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduced health tourism due to travel restrictions and reduced hospital budgets will further dampen the chances of a recovery this year. The Vietnamese market is the best prospect for growth in Southeast Asia in 2020, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, driven by the women’s health market and steady economic growth.

Related Market Report

Ultrasound Equipment provides a data-centric analysis of current and projected demand for cart, compact and handheld ultrasound systems. It features analysis of 30 geographic markets, with breakdowns by clinical application and product mix. The report is based on a robust primary research method and sales data reported by vendors of ultrasound equipment.

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