Global sales of general radiography equipment remain lower during the third-quarter, despite high growth from mobile X-ray

It is estimated that global revenues from general radiography solutions declined by a high-single-digit (e.g. -8.5%) during the third quarter, relative to Q3 2019. It is estimated that this resulted in cumulative 2020 sales declining by a mid-single-digit (e.g. -6.5%) during the first nine months, compared with the same period in 2019.

The sales contraction during the quarter as well as the first nine months was driven by lower sales from fixed DR systems, partially offset by sharp increases in sales of mobile DR systems. OEMs including Philips, GE, Shimadzu, Fujifilm, Canon, Carestream and Agfa all reported strong increases in the demand for mobile x-ray solutions as healthcare institutions responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by selecting systems that can be used at the point-of-care as well as outside of traditional hospital settings. Some of the smaller OEMs reported explosive sales growth although their global market share remained low. For example, Samsung Medison reported cumulative sales of USD $34m[1] from its non-ultrasound portfolio, an increase of +63% year-on-year. In addition, DRGEM reported cumulative sales of USD $35m[2] from mobile DR systems, an increase of approximately +2,000% year-on-year. The heightened demand for mobile systems was also a fortuitous trend for Micro-X, the Australian based start-up with Nano-based technology, as it supported strong sales growth and the adoption of its technology. The company reported that it is already going into 2021 with $3.8m of purchase orders.[3]

Sales of traditional fixed radiography systems were negatively impacted by the pandemic, particularly at the premium end for the market, as customers deferred purchasing decisions and OEMs were unable to install against orders. For example, ARCOMA, the Swedish based OEM known for its premium radiology rooms, reported a sales contraction of circa -27% during the third quarter and circa -12% for the first nine months. None of the OEMs reported a significant cancellation of orders due to the pandemic. While overall sales were lower from general radiography, this did not deter OEMS from their product launches and research and development initiatives. For example, during the quarter, GE received approval from Health Canada in order to embed AI-driven algorithms onto its mobile x-ray devices for the detection of pneumothorax. Siemens Healthineers developed out its AI-Rad companion solution to include chest X-rays, although it is not yet commercially available. Micro-X received U.S. FDA approval for its Rover mobile x-ray system. Carestream launched its DRX-Compass X-ray System for mid-tier hospitals and medical imaging centres, globally. Earlier in the year, GE launched its thoracic care suite across its x-ray platforms, in collaboration with Lunit, which again leverages AI-driven software to support radiologists. Konica Minolta launched its Dynamic Digital Radiography, or X-ray that Moves, on an advanced U-Arm system. ARCOMA also launched its latest premium platform within the European market, the Precision i5 and reported positive feedback from early customers around its improved patient experience and user-friendless. In summary, it has been a highly active period for OEMs so far during 2020.

Short-term Outlook

Global sales growth for general radiography solutions continues to be dependent on the evolution and dynamics of Coronavirus pandemic. Although surge demand for mobile X-ray systems softened during the third quarter, the growing number of infections within North America and Europe may result in another spending spree for new equipment, particularly in countries where ICU and ER capacity is tested. At the same time, some countries have successfully extinguished virus transmission and we expect to see a trend toward normalisation with a return in demand for fixed DR solutions during 2021.

Extract from Global Market Sales Report

References

[1] Samsung Medison, Q3 report, cumulative 2020 sales of KRW 33.6 billion from ‘other’ segment converted to USD at 1187.95 KRW/USD

[2] DRGEM, Q3 report, cumulative 2020 sales of KRW 41.14 billion from ‘mobile DR’ segment converted to USD at 1187.95 KRW/USD

[3] Micro-X AGM presentation, 18th November 2020