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More than half of the medical device professionals surveyed anticipate the strongest growth in 2017 to come from the United States and Europe.

Norbert Sparrow

February 2, 2017

3 Min Read
Survey: Medtech had a good year in 2016; 2017 looks even better

At the beginning of the year, I wrote an article about the medical device industry’s prospects in 2017, which looked pretty good in my opinion. Now, a survey of more than 3,000 industry professionals from around the world conducted by regulatory consultancy Emergo (Austin, TX) offers an equally sunny forecast. Despite all the uncertainty here and abroad, survey participants are “surprisingly optimistic about 2017,” writes Emergo.

It turns out that 2016 was a good year for the medtech industry, with one-third of companies responding to the survey reporting a more than 10% increase in sales compared with 2015. And they are bullish on 2017, at least in the mature markets. When asked where they expect to see their strongest growth in 2017, 60% of respondents indicated the United States and 51% said Europe. That represents an uptick from the 2016 survey, when 51% and 40%, respectively, said that the strongest growth would come from those countries.

Medtech professionals participating in the survey were asked which markets they expected to produce the strongest growth in sales and turnover for their company in 2017. The United States and Europe dominated.

The BRICs—Brazil, Russia, India and China—which were the darlings of the global economy not that long ago, have lost much of their luster. “In 2016, 44% thought China would produce strong growth, with India at 27% and Brazil at 24%. These particular BRIC markets saw notable declines in optimism compared to a year ago,” writes Emergo. Only 33% of respondents believe that China has potential to produce strong growth for their companies in 2017, and confidence in the Brazilian market dropped from 24% in 2016 to 17% in 2017.

Other key takeaways from the survey include:

  • Companies with fewer than 50 employees were more likely than larger companies to see sales and turnover increases in 2016 above 15%. 

  • In Asia, long-term growth prospects for medical device companies far exceed the rest of the world. Sixty-three percent of medtech professionals taking the survey looked favorably on growth potential over the next five years in Asia, compared with 29% in North America and 18% in Europe.

  • Euro-pessimism in this survey is well founded. When asked about the biggest challenges they face, 66% of those polled responded a “changing regulatory environment,” which is especially pertinent to companies doing business in  Europe. The new Medical Device Regulation, which goes into effect in 2020, is “the most significant change in medtech regulations in the last 10 years,” writes Emergo. Yet, “nearly four out of five regulatory professionals have a basic understanding (or less) of the changes in store for their companies.”

That said, “in nearly every developed and developing market, the population continues to get older (Europe) and/or richer (China), and these two macroeconomic factors will continue to drive demand for more healthcare, and a need for more devices,” writes Emergo.

In other words, the customer base is rock solid.

You can download the full report from the Emergo website.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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