Ultrasound hurt by global recession, but Asia softens blow

August 4, 2010
Greg Freiherr

Sales of ultrasound equipment fared better last year than those of other, more costly, imaging products such as MR and CT. The reason, according to InMedica, the medical research division of IMS Research, may be as simple as the price tag.

Sales of ultrasound equipment fared better last year than those of other, more costly, imaging products such as MR and CT. The reason, according to InMedica, the medical research division of IMS Research, may be as simple as the price tag. Pressed by budget concerns, buyers of new equipment in 2009 tended to purchase less expensive equipment. But that doesn’t mean ultrasound fared well.

The global market for ultrasound products shrank 6% last year to $4.9 billion compared with 2008, according to InMedica. The downturn was tied to cuts in healthcare spending and postponed equipment purchasing in Western Europe and North America. Market recovery will be slow, according to the company, due to continued economic uncertainty in Europe and further expected cuts in public health spending. These will prevent a return to growth until 2011.

Shortfalls in Western Europe and North America, however, were partly offset by strong growth in the developing markets of the Asia Pacific region, where increasing demand for ultrasound systems in 2009 came from greater investment in healthcare services. Demand for ultrasound systems has come particularly in China, India, and Southeast Asia, which are expected to continue to drive future market growth.