Most everyone would agree that 2007 was a very good year, except for the last few months when subprime loans and housing issues dominated the news. The analytical and life science instrument industry turned in an unexpectedly strong performance. Instrument companies continued to focus on emerging markets. Biotech spending was robust and pharmaceutical expenditures improved markedly. Prospects were also good for food testing and environmental monitoring. Product introductions also piqued end-user interest.
Instrument industry growth accelerated in 2007 to 7.0%, up from 6.5% in 2006. This estimate is based on the instrument forecast for the markets included in this IBO forecast issue. The rebound in the pharmaceutical industry, continued demand in the metals and materials market and yet one more year of spectacular growth in Asia made the difference.
The world economic situation in 2008 is expected to moderate across the board (see page 14). To reiterate points made in previous forecasts, general economic trends usually have a minimal effect on instrument sales, except in the extreme. Healthcare, environmental testing and advanced materials development, along with government spending, especially for defense and security, often run counter to economic declines. Accordingly, IBO estimates the analytical and life science instrument market will expand 6.4% in 2008 to $36.9 billion. Continued momentum in key markets, such as commodities, emerging nations and biotech, will continue to contribute to demand.
The fastest-growing market segment in 2008 will be mass spectrometry (see page 6). Innovative new products with ever-increasing performance will continue to be irresistible to scientists facing challenging analytical hurdles. This is especially true for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Mass spectrometers focused on life science applications are at the forefront of this growth. Selected segments of the life science instrument sector, including cell analysis and microarrays, should also experience outstanding growth (see page 5). Increased interest in ADMET testing to determine problematic drug formulations early in the development process is a key driver for instrument sales, and is one of the reasons in vivo animal testing systems are the number one growth prospect.
Scanning probe microscopy (SPM), Fourier transform MS (FT-MS), Raman spectroscopy, ion chromatography (IC) and other technologies are also expected to experience strong demand in 2008. Opportunities in nanotech and biological sample analysis are key drivers for SPM, while FT-MS also rides the drug development roller coaster. Raman continues to find application areas, including the security market and process analysis, while IC benefits from increased replacement and consumables purchases and global requirements for environmental testing.