Opinion: Medical electronics represents strong growth opportunity for ICs

Databeans Inc., principal analyst
Susie Inouye

Home diagnostics will propel growth in the medical electronics sector, which is expected to reach $3.5 billion worldwide by 2010, according to Databeans (Reno, Nevada).

Medical electronics is continuing to present a strong growth opportunity for semiconductors. According to Databeans latest study, “2005 Semiconductors in Medical Electronics,” the medical market for chips will reach over $2 billion in 2005. With a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent each year for the next five years, Databeans expects the opportunity to reach $3.5 billion by 2010.

Most of the medical electronics market for semiconductors comes from home diagnostics. The home market contributes roughly 50 percent of revenue, with a remaining 25 percent contributed by imaging, and 25 percent contributed by other diagnostic or therapeutic electronics. The home market is growing the fastest at 12 percent average annual growth, followed by imaging at 11 percent, and diagnostics and therapy combined at 9 percent.

The medical electronics products currently generating the most revenue for semiconductors would include blood glucose meters, ultrasound equipment and digital thermometers. Demand for precision amplifiers, data converters, analog power management, and RISC processors are all elevated by these applications.

Design trends follow the volume and suppliers are focused on the consumer medical electronics space, as well as the developing implantable applications. New design considerations here include size and power consumption. The battery can take up over 50 percent of the size of an implantable device — so low power circuitry is essential. On the consumer side, OEMs are designing smaller monitors that are simple to use, and require small packages. Also, much of the home market is battery powered, so power consumption in new products is lower, with standby currents becoming lower as well.

Global Semiconductor Revenue Forecast by Medical Market Segment

Databeans , 1-775-624-2881,

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