Which Segments of the Medical Device Market Were Most Affected by the Pandemic?


Anthony Purificato

Digital Platforms Specialist

The Industry is Still Recovering from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 was an unprecedented global event, affecting millions of patients and providers all over the world. The rapid inflow of patients into emergency departments of healthcare facilities caused a near-collapse of the healthcare system and tremendous disruptions for medical personnel, suppliers, and manufacturers. But this was just the beginning, so to speak.

The Medical Device Market from 2019-2020

Various medical devices parts laid on a table

At the start of March 2020, elective procedure cancellations began as a directive from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to preserve PPE and hospital beds for those in greatest need. The decrease in demand for medical devices led to a decline in the annual growth rate of the global medical devices market from 5.4% to 3.0% in 2020.

Even as “shelter in place” mandates eased and surgery centers and hospitals slowly resumed elective procedures, it became clear that the impact affected some segments more than others.

Various medical devices parts laid on a table

Impact by Medical Device Segment

The pandemic had a range of effects on the medical device market, ranging from high to low impact.

The highest impact was felt by segments that produce devices used during elective procedures. The majority of product or device sales related to orthopedic, dental, cardiovascular, and general surgery are dependent upon elective procedures, which significantly halted at the start of the pandemic. Orthopedic procedures across the United States declined by almost 30% in Q2-2020 due to the pandemic while most other procedure types experienced a 50%+ decline.

While a vast proportion of procedures in each segment are elective, certain sub-segments were deemed essential, which compensated for the impact experienced by the decline in other procedures. These segments, such as diagnostic imaging, wound management, and minimally invasive surgeries, felt a slightly lesser impact.

In-vitro diagnostics, diabetes care, and other medical and hospital supplies all underwent significant growth since the start of the pandemic. Demand for essential supplies and specific medical devices needed for critical care remained high throughout the pandemic. These segments felt a minimal impact, by comparison, because there was still a large demand for medical gloves, PPE and other medical clothing, syringes, catheters, and other supplies.

Read the detailed analysis in the whitepaper, Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Medical Device Markets: Challenges Facing Salesforces in the New Normal and How to Forge Ahead with Confidence.

The Future of the Medical Device Market

The medical device industry is expected to review operating processes and take necessary decisions to ensure that enough stockpile of their devices remains in inventory and that multiple supply chains are available for future unforeseen emergencies.

Meanwhile, it’s anticipated that governments and medical device companies will share knowledge and expertise in order to form strategies for manufacturing and crisis mitigation plans in the future.

Lastly, many medical device companies have pivoted marketing and sales strategies to align with a more virtual audience.

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