Electronics Production | January 28, 2009
Increased demand for Portable and PC-based Ultrasound Units in Eastern Europe
Limited purchasing power, combined with the lack of trained sonologists, has hampered growth in the ultrasound market in recent years. To compete with low-cost manufacturers, most vendors have started targeting the mid-range and low-end market segments.
With the demand for portable and PC-based ultrasound units experiencing exponential growth, the Eastern European market currently offers lucrative opportunities to an increasing number of market participants. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Eastern European Market for Ultrasound, finds that the market earned revenues of $197.2 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $370.9 million in 2014. “Volume sales in Eastern European markets are being clearly driven by the obstetrics and gynaecology (Ob/Gyn) and musculoskeletal ultrasound units,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Krishanu Bhattacharjee. “With a considerable rise in the number of private practitioners, the demand for low-end, PC-based ultrasound units will witness tremendous growth.” An emerging private sector has ensured the improved uptake of ultrasound units in the Eastern European markets. Growth will be augmented by the construction of new hospitals in countries such as Romania. While the number of private practitioners is rising, most of these practitioners are looking for refurbished ultrasound equipment due to their limited purchasing power. This has motivated low-cost manufacturers to enter the Eastern European markets, triggering further price erosion. “Despite countries such as Bulgaria and Romania joining the European Union, the funding for healthcare and the purchase of medical equipment has not changed significantly,” explains Bhattacharjee. “This has resulted in the reduced sales of cardiology and surgical ultrasound units that are higher priced. The lack of reimbursement for most ultrasound procedures has also hampered the unit shipment of ultrasound units.” To accelerate the adoption rates of various ultrasound technologies, including 3D, elastography and surgical ultrasound, vendors should introduce training programmes for sonologists in Eastern European countries. Companies from Western Europe and the United States should tie-up with local manufacturers and suppliers to ensure effective distribution of their ultrasound products. “Ultrasound manufacturers will have to design innovative offers to promote hand-carried ultrasound devices,” concludes Bhattacharjee. “Establishing an efficient technical support system for end users will support improved market penetration for vendors.”