The global mammography equipment market boomed in 2017, but strong performances in mature markets contributed to the growing disparity between these markets and smaller, emerging markets. Similarly, the competitive environment became more top-heavy as the top three manufacturers grew to capture more than 80% of global mammography revenues in 2017. Hologic was overwhelmingly the largest market share holder, accounting for over 50% of global revenues. GE Healthcare’s tremendous growth in 2017 led the company to gain the most market share. Siemens Healthineers grew steadily and maintained its position as the third-largest manufacturer.
Mammography’s “big three” companies featured some of the industry’s most innovative products, which helped separate them from smaller players in mature markets. Smaller manufacturers that targeted emerging markets with affordable equipment struggled in 2017. Emerging markets remained small and equipment volume growth did not translate to major revenue growth due to low prices. As a result, the mammography market became more stratified in 2017 on both the company and sub-regional level.
Breast cancer screening programs helped develop markets
Government sponsorship of mammography, primarily through the implementation of breast cancer screening programs, plays a major role in the size and development of a nation’s mammography market. Not all screening programs are created equal, and not all programs impact a market the same way. Typically, nations with screening programs have large and mature mammography markets, while a lack screening programs results in small emerging markets. Mature and emerging mammography markets contributed to global mammography revenue growth in unique ways due to the needs and demands of their respective breast cancer screening programs.
Mature markets boomed
Most of global mammography market growth came from the mature markets of Western Europe, North America, South Korea, and Japan. Mature mammography markets have established breast cancer screening programs that are well-funded and reimbursed, and have relatively high awareness, participation, and coverage. These markets have large installed equipment bases and purchases are typically cyclical to replace outdated equipment. 2017 was a unique year in that demand for replacement equipment in many large mature mammography markets peaked. Increased breast cancer incidence and mortality rates coincided with improved awareness, coverage, and participation for breast cancer screening, and created additional demand for new mammography equipment. Stronger economies led to more funding. Healthcare providers used this funding to replace outdated systems, driving uncharacteristically high growth in mature mammography markets. Recently stagnant French and Nordic markets exploded with nearly 40% revenue growth Y/Y. In Japan, revenues grew over 20% Y/Y, surprising a market where medical imaging equipment sales contracted in recent years.
The ceiling for advancement continued to rise
Technological advancement was a key factor in purchasing decisions in mature markets since healthcare providers desired innovative products that incorporated artificial intelligence, 3D tomosynthesis, and patient comfort. Manufacturers anticipated the high demand for advanced mammography units and launched new products such as Hologic’s newest and most advanced 3D mammography unit, 3Dimensions, and GE Healthcare’s Senographe Pristina, the first mammography device equipped with patient self-compression capabilities. These new products, in addition to the rest of Hologic’s, GE Healthcare’s, and Siemens Healthineers’ technologically advanced portfolios, dominated 2017 sales in mature markets.
The United States remained the principal market
The United States maintained its position as the largest and most advanced mammography market in the world, accounting for over half of the world’s total revenues and 3D unit shipments. The US mammography market grew at a slower rate than the rest of the world, but even slow growth in the United States added to the nation’s already high coverage and technological advancement. US market growth was driven by the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act and high demand for upgraded replacement equipment. The US market accounted for a disproportional amount of the world’s mammography equipment, technology, and available care. The figure below illustrates the present disparity between mature markets, like the United States, and emerging markets:
Mature markets purchased more mammography equipment per person than emerging markets in 2017 due to government support and established screening programs.
Emerging markets still lacked infrastructure
Undeveloped and emerging mammography markets are common in the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. In countries where formal screening programs exist, the programs tend to be relatively new, poorly funded, and lack awareness, participation, and coverage. As a result, emerging mammography markets are typically small and unstable. Many emerging markets grew in 2017, driven by new equipment purchases to accommodate screening program expansion and equipment upgrades. However, most emerging markets still lacked mammography equipment and infrastructure to support screening for even a fraction of their populations.
Market stratification increased
Mature mammography markets continued to seek the latest and greatest equipment to replace technology that was already far more advanced than the standard in emerging markets. On the other hand, emerging markets were more concerned about establishing an installed equipment base than the advancing it. This trend produced an increasingly stratified mammography market in 2017. Better breast cancer screening programs in mature markets improve survival rates and encourage further investment, while screening programs in emerging markets struggle to gain traction. The global mammography market presents manufacturers with the challenge of balancing their portfolios between high-end equipment for mature markets and affordable equipment for emerging markets. The temptation for manufacturers to focus solely on mature markets is great but doing so would sacrifice footholds in emerging nations that could become crucial to future success due to untapped markets with enormous populations.
A full assessment of the global market mammography equipment is available from IHS Markit in the 2018 Mammography X-ray Equipment Report, part of the IHS Markit X-ray Intelligence Service.
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Research Analyst II, Healthcare Technology
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