The global hearing aids market was valued at USD 5,105.8 million in 2013, and is expected to reach an estimated value of USD 6,913.7 million by 2020. Growing prevalence of deafness coupled with an expanding global geriatric population base are two primary drivers of this market. In addition, rapidly growing market penetration rates of digital hearing aid technology and demand for aesthetically appealing hearing aids are two most prominent trends of this market.
Estimates published by the WHO suggest that the global geriatric population is expected to rise from 7% in 2000 to 16% in 2050. Aging is considered as the greatest risk factor for the development of deafness and hearing loss disorders and therefore, the fact that the global base of geriatric population is expected to grow over the next six years is expected to serve this market as a high impact rendering driver.
The hearing aids are sold through multiple channels such as company-owned stores, hearing aid clinics, bigbox retailers, and through government agencies. The trade margins for hearing aids are huge and are negotiated based on the buyer’s purchasing power. Hence identifying the right distribution channel and product mix is highly important for increasing the market presence and profitability.
The U.S Veteran Affairs department is one of the major buyers with high negotiation power. This department accounts for more than 20% of market share in the U.S. and this market is majorly served by players such as Oticon, Phonak, Sivantos, Starkey, Widex and Gn Resound.
In the U.S. apart from Amplifion, bigbox retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and Sams hold a major share in the retail market. These retailers earn significant profits by selling the hearing aids. This segment is profitable for them owing to their large purchasing power and market presence across major centers in the U.S earns significant profits by selling the hearing aids.
Furthermore, the retail industry dynamics are expected to change rapidly as some of the big six manufactures such as Siemens, Sonova, and William Demant are making rapid strides in the retail sector. Some of the recent acquisitions include Sonova’s acquisition of Newport Audiology and Hearing Planet, William Demant is now the owner of American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA), and Siemens acquisition of Hear USA.
Furthermore, in September 2015 Starkey Hearing Technologies a privately held hearing aid manufacturer which is also a part of big six of hearing aids industry fired its seven top and middle management officials which include the vice president of the company Larry Miller. The company is also facing numerous lawsuits and countersuits between the company and several former executives and employees. Due to very dynamic nature of the hearing aid industry, there could be numerous possibilities in the near future which could include an acquisition or a merger with some large hearing aid manufacturer. However, Starkey’s CEO Bill Austin had denied the speculation and rumors of any such activities.
The product segments analyzed in this report include behind-the-ear aids, in-the-ear aids, receiver-in-the-ear aids and canal hearing aids (ITC, CIC and IIC). In-The-Ear Aids accounted for nearly 22% of the overall market in 2012 and are expected to gain market share over the forecast period, owing to high comfort, connectivity, easy to use and highly efficient for deafness or hearing impairment. The ITE aids are smaller than BTE and have their components enclosed within a case holding or shell-like structure. These are used for wide range of hearing defects and they also provide larger sound amplifiers along with some more features. These devices are custom made according to specific individual ear molds and are usually worn by people who prefer a cosmetic appeal in their hearing devices.
Furthermore, canal hearing aids segment accounted for 9.3% of the overall market share and is expected to grow considerably over the forecast period, as a result of rising number of R&D initiatives aimed at performance enhancement and the increasing demand for invisible and aesthetically appealing hearing aids owing to changing patient lifestyle habits.
Global hearing aids market by product 2012-2022, (USD Million)
The market on the basis of the technology is segmented into two sub-types namely digital and analog hearing aid technologies. Digital hearing aid technology offers benefits such as high efficiency, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity to help the user have a better quality of life. Owing to these advantages, digital hearing segment accounts for nearly 90.0% market share. Furthermore, digital hearing aids also offer advantages such as gain processing, digital noise reduction (DNR), digital speech enhancement (DSE) and directional microphones among others.
The market is segmented on the basis of the region as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, MEA and Latin America. Europe dominated the overall market in terms of revenue share in 2013 with more than 42% majorly due to increasing prevalence of deafness and hearing impairment, rising awareness about the technological advancement and the reimbursement policies in each European nation. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period and its share is expected to grow in 2020 due to improvement in the distribution network and increasing the prevalence of deafness especially in the geriatric population.
The hearing aids market is highly consolidated with the presence of big six players such as Siemens, Sonova, Widex, William Demant, Starkey and GN ReSound. Sonova is the biggest player in the market with nearly 23% of share. The retail space is predominantly held by Amplifion and it has nearly 3500 stores across the U.S. Europe and other regions. The industry trends indicate that the entry of big players in the retail segment is expected to continue as companies are looking to forward integrate their operations and improve their profit margins.
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