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From Fitbits to Robotic Surgery: The Growth of the Medical Device Market

The growth in the complexity, sophistication, and reach of medical devices has been explosive, both at the consumer level – where wearables have become extremely popular – and in the hospital – where new diagnostic and monitoring solutions can save medical professionals time and money.

In the article below, we’ll talk about just a few key aspects of this fascinating sector, discussing what’s popular, where it’s being sold, and what’s currently on the minds of industry leaders (spoiler alert: it’s information security). Read on!

Medical Device Market Size & Growth

At least two features of the medical device market are noteworthy. First, the sheer size of the industry is staggering. In 2017, it was estimated to be at least $397.5 billion around the world. It’s also projected to grow to at least $602.1 billion by the year 2025.

Second, the market is particularly strong in North America. As of 2017, the sector was responsible for an estimated $159 billion in sales on that continent alone. Unsurprisingly, much of this activity was focused in the expensive, innovative, and largely private markets in the United States.

The medical devices market is comprised of a wide variety of products and categories. From fitness trackers worn on the wrist and primarily used to count steps to futuristic robotic cardiac surgery units found only in the most advanced hospitals in the world, medical devices truly do run the gamut from interesting gadgets to lifesaving marvels.

The “smart” medical device category is a particularly interesting one. It’s composed of those products that rely on network connectivity and information gathering technologies to automatically monitor medical or biological information and, sometimes, make automatic adjustments to medical treatments based on the information they collect.

Global Market Insights estimates that, as of 2020, the size of the market around the world is an estimated $25.2 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of around 11% in both out-of-hospital diagnostic and monitoring products and more advanced, in-hospital products.

Medical Device Market: Critical trends

While there’s a ton of stuff going on in the medical devices industry, a few trends stand out as particularly prominent. We’ll mention just a couple of them here.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve

Easily the most visible and apparent subsector of medical devices is the wearables market. Nowadays, it seems that everyone and their second cousin is wearing at least one step counter, heart rate monitor, or blood oxygen reader. They’re usually built into a watch or a smartphone.

According to Research and Markets, “The global wearable medical devices market is expected to grow from $8.35 billion in 2020 to $10.28 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1%.”

As with other medical devices, North America has been dominating this market as of late, earning 36.1% of the market share.

Robotic surgeons to the rescue

The robot-assisted surgery market was estimated by Global Market Insights to total approximately $5.5 billion in 2018. But with a positively huge compound annual growth rate of 24.4%, it’s projected to grow to over $24 billion by the year 2025.

As with many subsectors in the healthcare industry, the North American market – driven by the United States’ ravenous spending – claims the largest part of the spending. As of 2018, it made up over 40% of the total robotic surgery market.

Information security and cybersecurity

The information security and cybersecurity of medical devices is especially important to the long term viability of this industry – for obvious reasons. First, the kind of information that medical devices record and transmit include some of the most private and intimate categories of data in the world: our private biological and medical info. This category could theoretically include everything from our entire genome to our full medical history.

The FDA, which regulates most medical device products in the United States, has devoted extensive resources to the development of its Digital Health Center of Excellence. The Center expends considerable time dealing with issues of the cybersecurity of medical devices and training various stakeholders – including patients, hospitals, device manufacturers, and more – in best practices for maintaining and protecting the privacy of device users.

Why economic development professionals should care

So why should you, as an economic development officer or other professional, care about the medical device market? Because it combines the best of high-tech software development with complex design and manufacturing processes, leading to high-paying, and rewarding, jobs for the members of your community.

As with other kinds of health tech (check out our article on the latest trends in health tech, here), the medical device market requires businesses to possess cutting-edge research and development, highly specialized legal and regulatory competencies, and intelligent industry partnerships to be successful.

This combination virtually ensures that attracting medical device firms to your community will result in the creation of durable and valuable economic activity.

And to get your outreach started, here are 20 Medical Device Companies to watch!

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