In 2020, Covid-19 severely impacted the overall medical devices market, with different segments of the market experiencing wide-ranging effects. The rapid initial spread of the pandemic resulted in healthcare systems being severely overwhelmed, with resources and staffing being re-directed to address the surge in patients, particularly in intensive care units.
Medical device markets that are imperative to supplying hospital equipment for the management of Covid-19, such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and general hospital supplies, experienced a surge in sales to fulfil the overwhelming demand. However, the pandemic also resulted in postponements and cancellations of non-essential and elective procedures. Manufacturers focusing on devices used in such elective procedures were extensively impacted financially during the worst-hit months of the pandemic, from March to April 2020. Many of these device markets had already recovered by H2 2020, however, with some even recording a surge in sales, while a few others had yet to experience such surges in 2021. Other device markets were less impacted overall by the pandemic, particularly those used in essential procedures, such as in the cardiovascular disease space.
By early 2021, nearly all medical device markets had fully recovered from the initial, significant dip in device sales caused by the pandemic. However, as the Alpha variant, first documented in the UK, was spread globally for months, leading up to its peak in January 2021, many elective procedures were once again postponed. An analysis of the total healthcare spend in the US alone indicates that the cancellation of many procedures resulted in a temporary decline down to March 2020 levels, although the market had swiftly recovered by March 2021 and remained stable.
The emergence of new and deadly strains like the Delta variant, which peaked between summer and fall 2021 for most countries, once again halted many elective procedures, but the associated device sales were impacted far less than expected compared to previous cancellations. Financial statements throughout 2021 by some of the largest medical device companies also indicated a strong recovery for most of their business units, although the duration and sustainability of their recent growth remains volatile, as the current rate of global vaccinations and administration of booster shots may struggle to ward off emerging, potentially even more fatal variants of concern, such as the Omicron variant.
Excluding the sizeable In Vitro Diagnostics and Hospital Supplies markets, which had both grown significantly since the onset of the pandemic, GlobalData has calculated the remaining overall medical devices market to exceed $335 billion in 2021, which reflects a more than 20% year-over-year growth and a 2.4% growth in comparison to 2019 levels. While GlobalData forecasts the market to continue its pre-pandemic growth, the increasing prevalence of Omicron variant cases leading to yet another round of elective surgery cancellations may hinder the growth rate. Such cancellations have already begun in parts of New York, US, and the likelihood of this trend spreading to other states and countries remains high.