By Imogen Fitt
When breast imaging comes to mind, mammography is the undisputed current modality of choice. Used as the primary screening tool for breast cancer, other breast imaging (BI) modalities, such as MR and ultrasound, form a comparatively smaller part of the market. For this reason, it is mammography that has typically driven the majority of BI’s market growth.
In our latest report, Signify Research has predicted that growth in the mammography market will begin to slow in the coming years. There are three key reasons why we see this occurring:
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- U.S. DBT installed based has started to saturate
- Price pressure is set to increase
- Interest and growth is expected to be driven from elsewhere
Each of these points are explored below:
1. U.S. DBT installed base has started to saturate
Over the last two years, the adoption of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) technologies has seen the mammography market experience rapid growth. This trend has been particularly pronounced in the U.S., which peaked in 2017 after reimbursement had been introduced a few years earlier. There, providers spend upward of $300,000 on 3D solutions, compared to around $200,000 for their 2D counterparts.
The U.S. market is unique in that it formed over 55 percent of the global market in 2018, as Figure 1 shows. Providers in the U.S. are willing to invest in higher-cost solutions, resulting in higher average selling prices (ASP) that differ significantly from their European and Asian counterparts. It’s for this reason that growth in the U.S. market has a significant impact on worldwide growth.
And as the saying goes, "what goes up must eventually come down." Despite recording an increase in the installed base of systems for 2018, vendors have reported that growth in the U.S. market has begun to slow. As of June 2019, 61 percent of certified facilities possessed at least one DBT unit, and the market has now moved into late-stage adoption. Whilst the adoption of DBT is predicted to continue, albeit at a slower rate, the proportion of software upgrades as opposed to new system installs is expected to increase. Averaging at around $40,000-50,000 per software install, this gain in revenue will be significantly less compared to selling a whole new system.