By Mustafa Hassan
After the market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the world ultrasound market is forecast to recover in 2021, with most markets expected to grow. The main regional growth trends are discussed below.
North America: Strong recovery for premium systems market
The USA ultrasound market declined in 2020, with premium systems experiencing the steepest market decline. The decline was driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant reallocation and reprioritization of budgets to frontline COVID care. Sales activity was also restricted as vendors were unable to visit health providers for much of the year.
Our initial presumption was that the recovery of healthcare spending in the USA would be slow, with a more “Nike-swoosh” and less “V-shaped” recovery, as financial constraints would limit capital spending on new ultrasound systems despite pent-up demand. However, the market has recovered strongly in the first half of 2021 on the back of a sharp rebound in imaging volumes, and the increased business confidence means the capital is there for purchasing, particularly for premium systems, as many providers have a preference for their high image quality and advanced features.
As a result, the ultrasound market recovery is expected to be V-shaped, with double-digit growth forecast for 2021, meaning a full recovery of market revenues to 2019 levels. The premium market is forecast to be the fastest growing, driven by strong demand in the established application areas of radiology, cardiology and women’s health.
Latin America: One of the weakest links in the global response to the pandemic
LATAM has been one of the worst affected regions by the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to poor government response, which has been blamed for the depreciation of the local currency.
Whilst the COVID-19 situation has worsened in Brazil in 2021, leading to a continued decline for the ultrasound market in Q1, the outlook for the rest of the year is more positive. Customers are now more accustomed to the volatile market conditions and are being more aggressive in their spending plans as they look for opportunities to grow. As a result, strong growth is forecast for Brazil in 2021.