General Analytical Techniques: Economic “Left Hook”

Electrochemistry systems, lab balances, radioactivity-analysis systems, dissolution-testing equipment, and continuous-flow (CF) and discrete analyzers make up the market referred to as general analytical techniques (GAT). The markets for each of these lab techniques share several characteristics: routine usage, mid-to-low price ranges and a large share of replacement sales. Many diverse vendors participate in this market, as many of these technologies are found in nearly all labs and there is a low barrier to entry to the market. In fact, broad-based as well as focused vendors each compete successfully in the GAT market, as labs in every end-user market and of every size must purchase such instruments. However, the maturity of many of the technologies results in slower overall sales growth than other analytical-instrument markets.

The GAT market, which grew over $50 million last year, is expected to increase 2.2% in 2015, reaching well over $2.1 billion. Electrochemistry techniques and lab balances combine to make up over three-quarters of total GAT demand. With leadership positions in both of these segments, Mettler-Toledo is the top player in the GAT market, with a 21% vendor share.

Electrochemistry technology is a broad field characterized by the measurement of a particular electrical parameter. Voltage, current or charge is measured in a sample and then correlated to a unique chemical property, such as concentration. The electrochemistry segment of the GAT market, which includes pH meters and titrators, is currently worth $839 million, with a GAT market share of almost 40%. Although the largest segment of the GAT market, electrochemistry sales are expected to grow only 1.7% in 2015, largely driven by demand from the pharmaceutical industry. In contrast, market growth is being inhibited by limited budgets in academia, which comprise a large portion of the end-user demand for this segment. The leading electrochemistry vendors are Metrohm, with its diversified product portfolio, and Xylem, which has several subsidiary brands, most notably YSI.

The second-largest segment of the GAT market is lab balances, which includes analytical balances and microbalances. One of the most prevalent pieces of scientific instruments in labs worldwide, lab balances comprise more than 37% of the GAT market. Demand for lab balances is expected to grow 2.4% in 2015 and reach over $800 million. Mettler-Toledo is the undisputed market leader, followed by Sartorius. Together, the two companies make up around 80% of the total market for lab balances.

Radioactivity-analysis systems is a category that includes a variety of technologies to measure alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. This segment has a GAT market share of just over 11%, making it the third-largest GAT market. Market growth for this segment, currently worth almost $140 million, is expected to be stagnant, as the technology is mature. The two major vendors in this market segment are PerkinElmer and Canberra (Areva).

Dissolution-testing equipment represents nearly 10% of the GAT market. However, it is the fastest-growing GAT segment at 4.8% and is expected to reach almost $200 million in revenue by the end of 2015. The technique is predominantly used in the quality-control labs of the pharmaceutical industry to physically evaluate the solid dosage forms of capsules, tablets, ointments and creams. Service is an important growth driver for the dissolution-testing market due to regulatory requirements. Agilent Technologies and SOTAX are the dominant companies in this technology segment.

Together, CF and discrete analyzers account for only around 3% of the GAT market. Demand for the technique, often used for environmental and food applications, is expected to grow 3.2% in 2015 to $65 million. Besides Thermo Scientific and Seal Analytical (Porvair), OI (Xylem) and Lachat (Danaher) also participate in this market.

< | >