Market of the Month: Oxygen Apparatus
Over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has affected the hospital equipment market in a number of ways. One sector that stands out is oxygen apparatus for patients. The sector has steadily risen in importance, and global imports of such equipment stood at US$8.3 billion in 2019. This rose rapidly in 2020, to US$15.3 billion; an increase of 84% in one year.
Most countries experienced a rapid rise in demand in 2020, with Russia, Spain, the UK and Italy all recording above averge growth for oxygen apparatus. In contrast, Japan recorded a far more normal growth rate.
It is not surprising that global demand for oxygen apparatus surged in 2020, as health services sought urgently to boost their stocks, to deal with the immediate situation, and plan for potentially elevated numbers of patients requiring oxygen over a longer period. This rapid surge in demand will also have led to rising prices, both of the equipment itself, and the costs of shipping across borders.
The world’s leading supplier of oxygen therapy equipment in 2020 was China, with shipments across the world of US$2.9 billion. This compares with US$764 millon a year earlier. Other significant suppliers are the USA, Germany and New Zealand.
It might be expected that such a sharp rise is a blip, and the market for oxygen apparatus will return to a lower level before long.
Monthly import data to June 2021 is available for 38 countries. This shows that demand rose rapidly after February 2020, and peaked in July.
Since then it has fallen steadily, but note that the total remains higher than pre-pandemic.
Whether it will fall back further depends on the level of stock health services now deem adequate, the ability of manufacturers to meet demand, and the teturn of shipping costs to a more normal level.