Written by Bhvita Jani, co-written by Graham Cooke
The fixed digital radiography (DR) rooms market experienced strong growth in 2021, with 15% growth in revenue reported and with revenues estimated at $1.2 billion.
Likewise, the fluoroscopy X-ray market returned to growth after a year of retraction in demand in 2020, with 18% year-on-year growth in 2021, with an estimated market size of $509 million. These figures, taken from Signify Research’s General Radiography and Fluoroscopy – World 2022
report, show a strong recovery from the challenges experienced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand returns to fixed-room radiography in 2021
Demand for fixed-room digital radiography systems returned to growth in 2021, as procurement budgets were made available, having been temporarily diverted to fund mobile X-ray purchases in the early phases of the pandemic. This allowed previously planned projects to resume, and upgrades and replacements to be installed. For developed regions and countries, higher-end features to help tackle the backlog are now increasingly sought after, including auto-positioning, cameras to ensure minimal patient movement before imaging, and AI based image analysis. Such features improve workflow, increase the throughput of an imaging department, and should help healthcare providers gradually clear some of the backlog created from the pandemic.
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Conversely, the digital mobile X-ray market retracted by 18% in revenue terms in 2021, closing at $684 million. However, this decline was not as severe as previously forecast, with some sustained demand remaining. During the pandemic, obvious benefits of mobile imaging were reinforced, including portability for bedside imaging. Growth is expected to return for mobile DR in 2024, as replacement of older mobile systems drives demand.
For mobile radiography, the importance of brand loyalty in purchasing decisions also returned, after a temporary focus solely on inventory available during the pandemic. This allowed, smaller, local vendors to win significant share in new markets as they could service demand from local inventory more readily than global brands. Once global vendor inventory returned to a more normal level, purchasers often reverted to previous purchasing habits.
The general radiography market has experienced issues across the supply chain. Many components, including steel and semiconductors, are in short supply. Coupled with rising cost of transportation and limited availability of shipping, average selling prices are expected to rise by approximately 8% in the short term for general radiography systems, before stabilising and declining again. This is also adding to lead times for projects, with systems taking a lot longer to reach customers.