Ultrasound cruises past $1.3B in U.S.

May 25, 2007

Revenues from ultrasound scanners in the U.S. rose more than 5% last year compared with 2005 on the heels of increasing demand for echocardiography. A drop of 23% in upgrades, however, damped overall growth to just 2.6%, according to a new report by Klein Biomedical Consultants. Still the ultrasound market rose to a record $1.33 billion in 2006 and could go much higher. Sales are expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.8% to reach $1.76 billion by 2011, according to the report, “Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound Market in the USA: Challenges & Opportunities in the New Millennium, 2006.”

Revenues from ultrasound scanners in the U.S. rose more than 5% last year compared with 2005 on the heels of increasing demand for echocardiography. A drop of 23% in upgrades, however, damped overall growth to just 2.6%, according to a new report by Klein Biomedical Consultants. Still the ultrasound market rose to a record $1.33 billion in 2006 and could go much higher. Sales are expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.8% to reach $1.76 billion by 2011, according to the report, "Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound Market in the USA: Challenges & Opportunities in the New Millennium, 2006."

Much of last year's growth came from the cardiology segment, which for the first time surpassed total radiology ultrasound revenues, including upgrades, according to Harvey Klein, Ph.D., president of Klein Biomedical. Cardiology ultrasound product revenues grew more than 11%, while the other three traditional markets - radiology, ob/gyn, and vascular surgery - showed little, if any change, he said. Philips' iE33 echocardiography system was the U.S. top seller in 2006.

Traditional markets accounted for 60% of total product sales growth in 2006, he said. Emerging markets, including emergency medicine and anesthesiology, contributed to the remaining 40% and grew twice as fast as the overall market in product revenues. Klein attributed the growth to strong demand for hand-carried ultrasound systems, which grew 30%.

The overall leader, based on product sales and upgrades, was Philips Medical Systems, followed by GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions, and SonoSite. In product revenues alone, however, GE led the way, followed by Philips. This order will not change over the next three years, according to Klein.

Traditional markets will grow slowly, less than 3% annually, while emerging ones will continue to boom, registering more than 16% growth per year. Sales of PDA-type, hand-operated ultrasound systems could contribute almost 1% to the growth rate of the overall ultrasound market, Klein said.

Although primarily a U.S. study, the report also summarizes the worldwide outlook. Klein Medical estimates that overall ultrasound product sales grew worldwide from $3.9 billion in 2005 to $4.1 billion in 2006, excluding upgrades and service revenues. This represents a 6.7% growth, which was helped slightly by favorable currency exchange rates. Worldwide ultrasound market leaders were GE followed by Philips, Siemens, and Toshiba.