While emerging markets help drive global CT and MRI markets, advanced, mature CT and MRI markets essentially shape the global CT and MRI markets. In 2016, the top-three country markets of the United States, China and Japan (all of which are considered mature markets) made up nearly half of the global market for CT and MRI. That said, the developing markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and parts of South America are forecast to have higher growth through 2021. Larger, more mature markets typically have more advanced, specialized needs whereas smaller, growing markets are more focused on basic care provision. The supplier landscape in more mature markets typically consists of large, multinational players with established channels and client bases; in emerging markets with large populations like India and Southeast Asia, there is a wider variety of local and international players; as follows, client bases are not as established as in mature markets. This dichotomy of markets is most evident in types of equipment purchased.
In the more established markets of the United States and Japan, new equipment purchases for CT and MRI are typically for more advanced equipment, with 64-slice CT and 1.5T and 3.0T MRI being the largest product segments in terms of revenues in each country. Particularly in the United States and Western Europe, the technology trends for CT are for enabling faster, more efficient workflows and more advanced imaging applications. 2016 product releases that were aimed towards more advanced markets included Siemens Healthineers’ new CT scanner, the SOMATOM Drive, which is a dual-source scanner that has an adaptive 4D spiral that visualizes vascular flow in the brain and organs. Philips released its IQon Spectral CT system in 2016. The IQon system produces spectral imaging and allows the technician to select two imaging colors to measure during the scan in order to detect more abnormalities faster. This system is geared towards more advanced facilities that want to focus on higher-level CT imaging.
Within the developed US MRI equipment market, there is strong demand for systems offering decision support tools, which provide connectivity to hospital information systems (HIS) that in turn increases work flow efficiency and more imaging capabilities. GE released its SIGNAworks platform, which is compatible with its SIGNA MRI scanners, at RSNA. This platform covers a wide variety of contrasts, 2D and 3D volumetric data and motion correcting capabilities; it is also upgradable and can be customized with additional applications. In 2016, Philips released a suite of neurological diagnostic applications, available with its Ingenia family of MRI systems. This technology includes Black Blood imaging, which provides higher quality brain imaging, and 4D TRANCE, which provides contrast-free imaging in order to evaluate vascular anatomy and blood flow dynamics. All of these applications have the ability to align with Philips’ IntelliSpace Portal, which is a single platform that stores patient information for quick detection and follow-up. These applications are geared towards facilities that want to upgrade their advanced imaging capabilities and reduce workflow to support higher patient throughput volumes through system connectivity.
In emerging markets where budgets are typically limited, the main focus is on providing basic care to a wider population, rather than providing more advanced imaging options and capabilities. CT is a general imaging system with very fast scan times and the ability to image large parts of the body or more specialized sections. In 2016 16-slice CT was estimated to be the largest product segment in terms of units and revenues in emerging countries such as India, Rest of Asia Pacific and Mexico. Since MRI is a highly advanced imaging technology, due to its high cost, long scanning times, and ability to produce highly detailed images of the body, it is not as common as other pieces of imaging equipment such as CT scans in regions where healthcare expenditure is low and healthcare infrastructure is not highly developed, such as in India, Pakistan, and rural areas of Southeast Asia. Typically, only advanced and well-funded facilities carry MRI equipment in emerging regions. 1.5T closed MRI systems are estimated to be the largest product segment in terms of units and revenues in 2016; however, moderate to high growth is forecast for open MRI in emerging regions through 2021 due to increased budgets and spending on healthcare to cover a wider portion of the population. In 2016, Neusoft released its NeuViz 16, 16-slice CT scanner. This scanner is cost-effective and focused on emerging regions and clinics where budget is limited but there is demand for CT technology.
Siemens Healthineers released its MAGNETOM Sempra 1.5T MRI in 2016. The system is 171 centimeters long requires is 302 square feet for installation. The MAGNETOM Sempra 1.5T is intended to be a low-cost solution and easier to use, which appeals to developing regions where a fully trained technical staff might not be readily available. Other companies, including Swissray, Alltech and United Imaging, offer value MRI solutions for facilities seeking low-cost alternatives but want to provide the more detailed imaging that MRI scanners offer. Swissray launched its first MRI system in 2016, the SR Pulse 710, which is a 1.5T wide-bore system. Alltech, formerly Picker, launched its Echostar Comfort 1.5T closed 71 cm MRI in 2015 in the United States. Separately, United Imaging is currently awaiting FDA approval for its imStar S Series 0.7T open MRI.
The types of technology that suppliers released in 2016 reflects the dichotomy between advanced regions and care centers and emerging regions, clinics that have limited budgets or are just beginning to carry CT and MRI systems. While growth in the largest country markets drives global growth, growth in parts of South America, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific are forecast higher growth through 2021. While purchasing in these emerging markets is typically focused on providing basic care, growth is forecast to be higher than in mature markets, and there is more opportunity for a wider variety of suppliers to provide equipment due to emerging markets being less consolidated.