The Analytical Instrument Market: Shifting Growth Dynamics

This spring, Strategic Directions International (SDi) published its latest “Global Assessment Report,” providing comprehensive market forecasts and sizing information for the laboratory tools industry. SDi, part of Science and Medicine Group, is a business intelligence company specializing in analytical and life science instruments. The report covers 10 categories of analytical and life science instrumentation (excluding diagnostics products).

Categories of Analytical Instrumentation

  • Atomic Spectroscopy
  • Chromatography
  • Laboratory Automation & Informatics
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Life Science Instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Materials Characterization
  • Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Sample Preparation
  • Surface Science

Only two companies, Danaher and Thermo Fisher Scientific, the laboratory tools industry’s two largest companies, participate in all 10 market categories. Other major participants across several market categories are Agilent Technologies, AMETEK, Hitachi High-Tech, HORIBA, PerkinElmer and Shimadzu.  

According to the report, the total analytical instrument market was valued at over $82 billion in 2023 reflecting rapid growth in the life science and sample preparation technology segments. Growth has been affected in recent years by the COVID pandemic, which led to outsized demand for instrumentation, namely PCR and lab automation for the development of laboratory developed tests (LDTs), and for routine lab equipment such as pipettes. The heightened demand for these techniques faded in 2022 as a result of COVID testing slowing and of overstocking.

In 2023, the industry also experienced turbulent times due to a significant sales slowdown in China and the biopharma markets. China’s weaker demand resulted from economic challenges and cessation of stimulus programs. In biopharma, pharma belt tightening and lackluster biotech fundraising dampened demand. China and biopharma are two of the fastest growing markets for the industry and thus industry sales were dramatically affected, even resulting in flat to declining revenues sales for some major vendors in 2023.

According to the “Global” report, the industry can expect slower growth between now and 2028 compared to the 2018–2023 period. Life science will continue to be the fastest growing and largest category, with surface science techniques now the second fastest growing category. Pharma/biotech will continue to lead demand among end-markets. China will remain a key market but will be slightly outpaced in growth by Other Asia Pacific.

Life Science

The life science segment of the analytical instrument market consists of 13 categories. What has been and will continue to be one of fastest growing segments of the life science market is sequencers. The sequencer market is dominated by Illumina. Other significant players are Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Clinical demand and new products are among the drivers of market growth.

Categories of Life Science Instrumentation

  • Capillary Electrophoresis
  • Cell Counters
  • Electrophoresis
  • Electrophysiology/Patch-Clamp
  • High-Content Analysis/Imaging
  • Flow Cytometry
  • In Vivo Animal Imaging
  • Microarrays
  • PCR
  • Spatial Omics
  • Sequencers
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance/Label-Free Detection
  • Synthesizers

The second fastest growing segment of the life science instrument market is spatial omics. Spatial omics is defined in the report as “specialized imaging systems that enable the visualization and localization of targeted transcripts and/or proteins within their native tissue and cellular environments.” This market has two main competitors, 10x Genomics and NanoString Technologies (now part of Bruker). Other major players include Akoya Biosciences and Miltenyi Biotec. Expanding demand for multi-omic techniques as well as new product introductions should drive demand in this market and are part of the wider trend of single-cell analysis.

The life science market’s largest providers of instrumentation, including aftermarket products, are Thermo Fisher, Illumina and Danaher. All three participate in the sequencing market, with Danaher’s Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) being an important supplier of library prep kits.

All three companies, however, do not directly participate in the spatial omics market. Uncertainly created by patent disputes complicate market dynamics. Other challenges are data analysis, cost and complexity. Bio-Techne, through its ADCBio products and now Bruker, with its Canopy Biosciences and NanoString businesses, are two larger, broad-based companies now participating in the market. 10x Genomics is a supplier of both the sequencing and multi-omics markets. Although the company does not provide sequencers, its Chromium systems prepare RNA in single cells for sequencing.

For more on SDi’s “Global” report, click here.