Business Growth Opportunities in Health Care

The last few years have revealed that the health care industry, once thought to be virtually recession proof, simply isn’t immune to downturns in the global economy. Medical device manufacturers in particular have suffered as liquidity in the markets to finance capital expenditures dried up, causing hospitals to postpone or cancel new equipment purchases.

While the US market’s decline is expected to level off in 2010 and other established economies, such as Western Europe, are anticipated to produce flat to modest growth, emerging markets, led by Brazil, Russia, India and China, have enabled several years of double digit growth in several sectors of the medical device space. 2010 is expected to be yet another significant year for medical device companies in emerging markets.

Philips Healthcare, for example, experienced a third consecutive year of double digit growth in emerging markets in 2009, with high single digital sales growth expected for Q1 2010. In fact, Philips Healthcare’s medical device segment anticipates a full one-fifth of 2010 sales will come from emerging markets.

So why are emerging markets surging while established economies are sluggish? First, there is an increased demand for robust care structures in emerging markets as their vast populations grow and age. This has and will continue to fuel the demand for advanced medical technologies to deliver better healthcare and access. Here is a summary of some important facts, trends and demographic shifts that are producing this effect:

• Emerging markets represent the largest segment of growth in world population, which is expected to be around 9 billion in 2050
• India and China represent approximately 40 percent of the world’s population
• As healthcare access improves, there is increasing demand from lower tier hospitals and regions
• By 2020, 75 percent of cancer deaths in emerging markets
• By 2015, China and India will be biggest global cardiac markets
• Approximately 50 percent of people in the emerging markets are sleep deprived

With steady and significant business growth in emerging markets, savvy companies recognize the importance of harnessing strategic communications to help build brand awareness, capture consumer trust and drive market share. Those keenest to gain market share will leverage varied communications tactics designed to reach a variety of audiences in the best manner given the market’s culture.