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Consumer Demand Supports Strong Growth for Medical Semi


The recent releases of new consumer electronics are beginning to play out positively in the market, but what about the rest of the semiconductor and electronics industry markets? Among the bright spots are the positive, durative momentum and growth seen for medical and automotive semi. This optimism is rooted in demand growth and advances in the embedded design solutions that increase device functionality and features alongside of consumer demographics globally that are driving very strong forecasts for consumer medical electronics.


Preventative & continuous care demand

Not only are we facing a global population that is aging while growing chronic disease rates also rise, there is simultaneously an increase in attention to preventative health care and monitoring as a better solution (based on both cost and patient-care issues). As recent IHS research underscores, personal (consumer) medical devices such as hearing aids, blood pressure and glucose monitors seeing continued strong growth, are expected to continue to experience growth that is "[…] set to reach $8.2 billion by year-end, up a solid 4 percent from $7.9 billion in 2012. Revenue expansion for the next few years will range from 5 to 9 percent, with industry takings by 2017 amounting to $10.6 billion."

Further supporting the growth of consumer medical devices is the increased funding support for remote care and monitoring solutions from government and medical insurance corporations. In concert with continuous or regular monitoring device support from institutions that directly impact adoption and availability of such devices, is the current social behavioral changes by individual consumers who continue to demand more personal fitness devices. Also supporting the growth of consumer medical devices is the emerging relationship between insurance companies and insured individuals around fitness and healthy habits as part of preventative care agreements, IHS research revealed.

A hampering variable in the faster growth of individually-controlled health care efforts, such as through mobile health (mHealth) apps on smart wireless devices, personal health and fitness devices, and similar consumer-based medical devices that make up the spectrum of preventative care devices, is the disruptive event of changing the doctor-patient social contract, as a recent PWC report underscored.

Emerging market growth expanding

While the adoption of mHealth and consumer medical devices moves forward, the expectation is that global growth will cascade as emerging economies, particularly China. iSuppli research on the market in China estimates strong growth beginning this year and continuing forward:

Total revenue for the China medical electronics industry will reach an estimated $5.47 billion at year-end, up 15 percent from $4.74 billion in 2012. Next year’s growth will be even higher at 16 percent when revenue hits $6.34 billion, with the three years after that yielding near-equivalent expansion rates ranging from 13 to 14 percent. By 2017, China’s medical electronics market will be worth some $9.25 billion.

The data supporting these significant growth forecasts is based on growing urbanization, aging population, and extended reach of health care into remote locations in China. Additionally, the rise in chronic ailments once more common of "First World lifestyles and rich diets" are adding to the need for more patient medical devices to monitor the respective levels of these chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, etc.).

As the medical device market growth continues in China and other emerging economies, it is anticipated that additional competition among OEMs and manufacturers will similarly increase. As this competition opens, the wider market and pricing is expected to shift as well, potentially increasing the affordability and availability of solutions more globally. iSuppli notes:

The consumer segment is, in fact, the second-largest sector of China’s overall medical electronics trade, exceeded only by the imaging equipment division. Other segments in China’s medical electronics market are diagnostics, therapy, patient monitoring, information and medical instruments.

In the area of medical electronics semiconductors, revenue from the China market is projected to reach $296 million at the close of 2013, up an anticipated 18 percent from 2012.


Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 16:51 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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