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Trends and segments for medical devices in the EU market

Opportunities and threats


Trends and market developments offer opportunities and threats to exporters. A given trend can be a threat to some and an opportunity to others at the same time. The following opportunities and threats should, therefore, always be analyzed in relation to your specific circumstances. The main opportunities and threats for developing country (DC) exporters are the following:

  • The demand for medical devices is expected to remain stable or perhaps show a small increase in the years to come. Most of the demand for medical devices concerns high-tech sophisticated products.

  • More subcontracting to DC producers is expected in the long term.

  • The ageing population leads to especially good demand for some type of products, such as orthopedic appliances.

  • DC companies are advised to enter the EU market through EU intermediaries or through subcontracting. These trade partners know all the relevant information on reimbursement policies in their specific markets.

  • DC companies improve their opportunities in the EU market by offering innovative products or by offering products that fit in innovative applications. Furthermore, they should not only look for partnerships in the medical devices sector but also in the pharmaceutical sector.

  • DC companies that are able to respond to the green trend clearly have many Opportunities in the EU market. This could be done by, for example, offering products with a smaller carbon footprint. It is also advised to combine this product characteristic with lower costs in order to improve the market opportunities for your product.

  • There is a growing demand for medical devices that facilitate more efficiency in healthcare, due to cost containing objectives in the healthcare industry.

Main market segments


The market for medical devices and medical disposables can broadly be divided into two major and two minor segments :

  • Intramural market, which consists of :

  • Hospitals

  • Nursing homes

  • Psychiatric institutions

  • Extramural market, which consists of :

  • General practitioners (GPs);

  • Specialist doctor practices;

  • Trends and segments for medical devices

  • Home-care market.

  • Private dental practices and jaw and dental surgery departments of hospitals.

  • Private veterinary practices and veterinary clinics of university hospitals.

The last two market segments are relatively small in size. In general, both segments use the same or similar distribution arrangements as the two major market segments, that is the intramural and the extramural market.


The major share of the demand for medical devices is from private and public hospitals. The second largest user consists of General Practitioners, and specialist doctor practices. Note that there is a small consumer market segment for medical devices (such as test kits and blood pressure meters) as well, but this segment is estimated to be very small (less than 2% of the consumption of medical devices) and will be omitted from the rest of this survey.


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