The global demand for X-ray detectors returns to growth in the first quarter

Surgical C-arm X-ray System

Global Sales Revenue : USD comparable, quarterly foreign exchange adjustment

Data from X-ray Detector Market Intelligence Subscription Service

Q1 Sales Growth

On a constant currency basis, it is estimated that global revenues from the sale of X-ray detectors increased by a mid-single-digit during Q1 2021, compared with Q1 2020. This marked a return to quarterly sales growth following three consecutive quarters of sales decline, and is on top of mid-single-digit growth in Q1 2020, compared with Q1 2019. On a comparable currency basis, it is estimated that global revenues increased by a high-single-digit due to a +2% currency tailwind as a result of the US dollar depreciating against the Euro, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen and Korean Won.

Q1 Growth Dynamics

Quarterly sales growth was driven by higher sales from both the ‘medical’ and ‘industrial & security’ market segments. On a constant currency basis, global sales grew by a mid-single-digit within both segments. On a comparable currency basis, global medical sales grew by a high-single-digit and industrial & security sales grew by a low-double-digit, compared with Q1 2020.

In the medical segment, quarterly sales growth was driven by continued strong demand for radiographic and CT detectors, combined with recovering demand across other applications. The demand for detectors used as part of mobile general radiography and CT systems was higher, driven by pandemic related demand as well as strong underlying demand for CT systems due to planned expansion of healthcare infrastructure within China. Supporting this growth was increasingly normalising demand for detectors used for oncology, mammography, fluoroscopy and dental applications.

In the industry & security segment, quarterly sales growth was characterised by higher demand for detectors used within non-destructive testing applications, partially offset by weaker demand for products related to security screening applications for ports, borders and baggage screening at airports.

From a geographical perspective, sales were higher from customers across all major regions; America, EMEA and APAC. Sales grew by a double-digit in APAC, driven by sustained strong demand from customers in China as well as a strong recovery in demand from customers based in Japan. Sales grew by a mid-single-digit in EMEA, driven by solid demand from Europe. Sales grew by a low-single-digit in America, driven by recovering demand from customers in North America.

From a technology perspective, the aggregate demand for photodiode and a-Si TFT detectors were higher. Although at earlier stages of commercialisation, and therefore comparable sales data is limited, OEMs reported that the demand for both IGZO and photon-counting detector technologies continued to gain momentum. Higher demand for photodiode, a-Si TFT, IGZO and photon-counting detectors was accompanied by recovering demand for detectors utilising a-Se TFT, CMOS flat panel and CCD technology.

Outlook for the remainder of 2021

It is anticipated that uncertainty in demand will continue in 2021 and many OEMs are working on baseline assumptions that end markets for X-ray systems will not fully normalise until 2022. The sales activity for the remainder of 2021 is likely to be characterised by a drop-off in demand for COVID-related products combined with recovering demand for non-COVID related products. The exception to this is the demand for CT detectors, which is anticipated to remain strong due to significant investments being made into healthcare infrastructure, particularly within China. In North America, X-ray system installation data shows that installation volumes began to increase again from February 2021 onward, and OEMs are reporting strong X-ray equipment order growth from the United States. Strong order growth is typically a precursor for sales revenue growth and we are anticipating that this will translate into strong sales growth from the United States during H2 2021. Overall, we anticipate that global revenues from the sale of X-ray detectors will return to annualised sales growth during H2 2021, resulting in high-single-digit annual growth.

Sales results from publicly listed detector OEMs

DRTECH Q1 2020 revenue re-stated
USD in millions / DRTECH Q1 2020 revenue re-stated

X-ray Detector research products and services:


Interested in market research and data for X-ray detectors? Reach out.