Mass Spectrometry: Ubiquity Secures Market

While the overall MS market did not quite match the growth initially expected for 2008 (see IBO 1/5/08), it grew more than 8% in the past year. Despite the severe global recession, IBO expects the demand for MS to grow 7.7% in 2009, which will easily put the total market value over the $2.5 billion mark. The fact that more than two-thirds of the MS market is either directly or secondarily tied to government and academia or the health care industry—sectors of the economy that are still growing—is the primary factor in the resiliency of demand. The continued flow of new products, many of which advance the limits of performance, are also a major factor.

What pullback there has been in demand for MS has generally been for initial systems, particularly for more expensive systems, some of which can cost more than half-a-million dollars. Many orders or potential orders for initial systems are either being delayed or put on hold, rather than cancelled outright, as end-users become more cautious in the current economic environment. Fortunately, a large percentage of end-user demand comes from large companies and organizations that have fairly solid financial positions, and are not as limited as other end-users when it comes to investment in capital equipment. The large installed base and strong growth of past years will lead to very consistent growth in the MS aftermarket and for service.

One market segment that is likely to be more affected by the general economic downturn is GC-MS due to its applications in the oil and gas industry, which has seen the price of oil plummet over the past few months (see page 13). However, food safety issues and environmental regulations will help the GC-MS market maintain at least 4% growth in 2009.

The once high-flying MALDI-TOF MS market has experienced less than stellar growth in recent quarters due, in part, to a lack of new instrument introductions. The market is likely to grow at less than 4% in 2009, and is not expected to experience annual growth of much more than 5% in the foreseeable future. Much of the growth in MALDI-TOF market is due to the wide range of sample preparation and other aftermarket products that have been developed recently.

Sales of both tandem LC-MS and TOF-LC-MS struggled to break 10% growth in 2008, and are expected to grow between 9% and 9.5% in 2009, before returning to solid double-digit annual growth in 2010. A significant factor in these slightly lower growth rates is the availability of lower-priced triple quadrupole MS and Q-TOF MS instruments, which reduce the average selling price, but largely maintain the growth in unit sales. There continues to be significant innovation and product introductions in these two segments of the MS market, which will help drive market growth over the next several years. Food safety issues have also helped to grow demand, particularly for triple quadrupole LC-MS. Because food safety is driven much more by regulatory factors than macroeconomic factors, sales for this application are likely to be less affected by recessionary pressures.

The FT/MS market is in major flux at the moment due to the introduction of much simpler and lower-cost instrument models, principally from Thermo Fisher Scientific. These newer systems are priced well below $500,000 and are selling well, which is in contrast to the much larger and more expensive research systems, which can cost over $1 million. Although higher-end FT/MS systems are still selling reasonably well, their low sales volume and high price means only a handful of delayed or cancelled orders can significantly reduce total market sales, but not unit sales. Despite these factors, FT/MS sales will still grow in the double digits in 2009.

Mass Spectrometry 2008–09

Market Share Growth Rate

Tandem LC-MS 35.0% 9.2%

GC-MS 18.8% 4.1%

TOF-LC-MS 16.1% 9.4%

MALDI-TOF 11.2% 3.2%

FT-MS 7.8% 13.5%

Single Quad. LC-MS 6.7% 8.3%

Magnetic Sector 4.5% 2.9%

Total 100.0% 7.6%

Mass Spectrometry Market Leaders

Tandem LC-MS Applied Biosystems, Thermo Fisher Sci.

GC-MS Agilent, Varian

TOF-LC-MS Waters, Applied Biosystems

MALDI-TOF Bruker, Applied Biosystems

Single Quad. LC-MS Agilent, Waters

Magnetic Sector Thermo Fisher Scientific, JEOL

FT-MS Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bruker

Chart: 2008 Mass Spectrometry Supplier Market Shares

Applied Biosystems 25%

Thermo 18%

Agilent 16%

Waters 13%

Bruker 7%

Others 21%

Chart: 2007–10 Total Mass Spectrometry Market

2007 2008 2009 2010

Millions $2173 $2349 $2528 $2778

Chart: 2008 Mass Spectrometry Market by Product Type


Initial Systems 1660.7

Aftermarket 255.6

Service 432.5

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