State of the Medical Device Market in Chile
Before the turmoil in fall 2019, Chile’s GDP projections were better than 3% for 2019 and beyond. But the experts consulted by the country’s Central Bank forecast GDP growth of just 1.2% in 2020, the same growth estimated for 2019 amidst the protests and conflicts.
These economic difficulties could well be related to the drops observed in the importation of medical devices/equipment in 2019.
According to ShareScope, a service from Global Health Intelligence (GHI) that analyzes import data and uses it to analyze market size & share for medical equipment and device brands in Latin America, 2019 figures for Chile show more negative than positive results, depending on the area of focus and product type.
2019 Medical Device Market Analysis for Chile
To analyze the direction of Chile’s market this year, ShareScope focused on the imports of specific types of medical devices and equipment, specifically:
- Ultrasound machines
- Magnetic resonance imaging equipment
- Equipment used in orthopedics/treatment of fractures
- Artificial joints
- Heart valves
- Computed tomography (CT scanners)
- X-ray machines
- Radiography/Radiotherapy equipment
While this is not an exhaustive list of all medical equipment imported into Chile in 2019, it represents the major categories in terms of overall volume; as such, it serves as an overall indicator for the market in general.
Why Import Data?
ShareScope analyzes import data as a proxy for sales. This is because few products are manufactured locally and therefore imported medical devices and equipment are sold to medical institutions. As such, import data for medical devices and equipment are strongly correlated to actual sales and thus are a solid indicator of market activity.
“Equipment” and “Devices”
It’s important to note that the import data analyzed by ShareScope are not just the medical equipment and devices themselves, but also their parts and components.
2018-2019 Decreases in the Chilean Medical Devices/Equipment Market
The chart below breaks down a year-to-year comparison for 2018-2019. It features the difference in both value and quantity in terms of equipment.
For 2018-2019, we forecast that 4 medical device/equipment categories will have drops in quantities in Chile:
- 47% decrease in the importation of electrocardiograph machines
- 31% decrease in the importation of heart valves
- 22% decrease in the importation of MRI machines
- 19% decrease in the importation of X-ray machines
That said, there were some bright spots in the quantities imported into the country, which we cover further below.
But when analyzed together, we forecast a 37% decrease in the quantities of medical devices/equipment imported into Chile in 2019.
We also observed drops in the value of medical equipment imported into Chile in 2018-2019 in several key categories, specifically:
- 71% decrease in the importation of radiography/radiotherapy equipment
- 21% decrease in the importation of electrocardiographs
- 15% decrease in the importation of ultrasound machines
- 9% decrease in the importation of pacemakers
- 7% decrease in the importation of equipment for orthopedics/fracture treatment
- 1% decrease in the importation of heart valves
Despite these significant decreases, overall, we expect to see a 4% increase in the value of imported medical devices and equipment into Chile in 2019.
2018-2019 Increases in the Chilean Medical Devices/Equipment Market
Along with the downturns, a number of equipment categories posted increases. First, there was an encouraging jump in quantities:
- 80% increase in the importation quantities of computed tomography machines/parts
- 33% increase in the importation quantities of pacemakers
- 14% increase in the importation of artificial joints
- 9% increase in the importation of equipment/parts for orthopedics/fracture treatment
- 2% increase in the importation quantities of ultrasound machines/parts
In addition, we forecast an increase in the value of certain medical devices/equipment imported into Chile during the 2018-2019 period:
- 83% increase in the importation value of MRI equipment/parts
- 39% increase in the importation value of computed tomography machines/parts
- 24% increase in the importation value of artificial joints
- 17% increase in the importation value of X-ray machines/parts
Interpreting the Results
Although Chile did not suffer the currency devaluations and economic crises that affected its neighbors, its economy generally only had modest growth during 2014-2019, and the issue of income inequality came to the forefront with the turbulent protests at the end of 2019 — and into 2020.
As such, it’s no surprise that its medical device/equipment market posted a blend of positive and negative numbers during that period:
A CAGR of 4% increase in value between 2014-2019
A CAGR of 5% decrease in quantities between 2014-2019
That’s the picture of the past 5 years.
In general, in 2018-2019 what we’re seeing with Chile is generalized margin compression in which the average value drops by 2%, with the exceptions of MRI machines and artificial joints. In the case of MRIs, the lack of compression could be due to the sale of a few new large machines. The overall value increase of 4% seems to be driven by MRI equipment and electrocardiographs.
With a market like Chile posting these mixed results, it becomes ever more important for medical device and equipment manufacturers to be analytical in finding new opportunities.
While existing contacts and prospecting are important, sales teams need to leverage more tools, such as:
- Overall market sizing and its trends
- Independent and unbiased market share tracking
- Streamlining CRM systems to integrate data from multiple sources into one platform the whole team can use
- Discovering new accounts that are ideal for high-end, cutting-edge medical devices
- Determining market demand outside of your regular client base
This analytical approach is helpful for all markets, but much more in markets like Chile, in which data can make the difference between exceeding your sales goals and falling considerably short.