MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. (Aug. 8, 2 p.m. ET) — The Western European market for polymers in medical devices is set to break the 1 billion euro ($1.23 billion) barrier in six years, boosted by an aging population and the increasing replacement of glass and metals in healthcare equipment.
New analysis from research group Frost & Sullivan Inc. suggests that the market generated sales of 602 million euros ($744 million) in 2011, and forecast this to reach 1,075.4 million euros ($1.33 billion) in 2018.
“A rapidly graying population with its attendant healthcare needs will have a positive impact on the medical devices market and, by extension, on polymers used in such equipment,” said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Tridisha Goswami.
“This will be reinforced by the uptake of increasingly sophisticated equipment by the healthcare industry and the growing importance of portable, impact-resistant medical devices that can be used in homecare settings.”
The healthcare industry was increasingly interested in miniaturisation, homecare, and aesthetics for medical devices.
“Polymers which have exceptional durability, flexibility and strength, and can also be dyed in any color, meet such demands. They also fulfil the need for lightweight, portable, smaller-sized devices,” she added.
Goswami said that in comparison to other areas, such as automotive and construction, polymers in healthcare was a low-volume market although it offered opportunities for higher margins and was less tied to GDP growth.
However government pressure to keep costs down was likely to limit the profit margins of polymer suppliers. “The market is highly regulated and product development is expensive and time consuming,” she added.
Despite being low-volume, the market was defined by high competition and innovation.
Efforts to advance polymer functionality and diversify the application base will help companies establish their presence in the market, Goswami said.
“Competition is intense and market participants have to diversify their product lines and be a one-stop-solution for all healthcare material needs.
“Manufacturers should focus on developing novel, high quality products that meet the particular needs of varied applications.”