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  • Ariana Kwapong

Medical Technology in the Consumer Market

Medical technology (following the concept of technology) can be defined as the application of medical knowledge for practical purposes. Machinery and equipment derived from medical technology is often referred to as medical devices or healthcare equipment. Big diagnostic machines like CT scanners or an X-ray machine may come to mind, but a medical device can be as simple as a needle, or even a band aid!

The healthcare equipment industry is valued at $88.6 billion USD in the Unites States. It can be broken down into four categories: surgical instruments, surgical appliances, dental laboratory equipment, and dental equipment supplies.

Of course, the ordinary civilian does not have a CT scanner nor an X-ray machine sitting at home. Much of the medical technology sold in markets is purchased by hospitals, government agencies, laboratories, organizations and ultimately ends up as a service or good for the consumer. However, as a result of Covid-19 along with other factors, medical technology is increasingly finding its way directly to consumers.

The consumer market is concerned with individuals purchasing goods and services for their own personal use. In this specific market, the consumer can be anyone: the elderly, those in need of medical care, and those looking to enhance their own health.

Wearable Medical Devices

Diagnostic wearable devices cover a range of medical devices that allows consumers to monitor vital signs, sleep patterns, fitness level, calorie in-take and more. These metrics aide in the diagnosis of diseases like CVD, diabetes, or sleep apnea to name a few. Market growth from 2020-2025 in this industry is projected at USD 4.94 billion globally. The key consumer countries include the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, and China, with the US leading at 38%.

Popular companies in this area such as Apple and Fitbit continually show interest in diving deeper into healthcare. Apple has released the Apple Watch Series 6 which can detect irregular heart rhythms. In response to the medical needs worldwide in June of 2020, Fitbit announced the launch of Fitbit Flow, a Low-Cost Emergency Ventilator. In the same month, Omron Healthcare Inc. announced an agreement with the pharmaceutical firm Lupin aimed to strengthen respiratory disease management facilities, focusing on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. A couple months prior, the company allied with AliveCor to combine their top-class blood pressure devices with AliveCor's ECG technology with the goal of better customer service as well as expanding access to remote patient care.

China Focus

The Chinese health care equipment & supplies market had total revenues of $65,707.4m in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% between 2016 and 2020. (“Health Care Equipment & Supplies in China” page 8). In China, the largest buyer in the healthcare industry is the Chinese government at 56%.

The great demand by consumers for surgical masks amid the pandemic drove the increase in production which many market suppliers rushed to supply. As time progressed consumers became aware of an “upgraded” mask, the K95 masks and as a matter of course, demand spiked.

As technology continues to progress and consumers grow more concerned for their personal health, a wearable CT scan in the average civilian home may not be as far-fetched as it seems.


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