Press Release Summary = This Market Report examines the UK market for laboratory equipment, which is defined as the equipment/instrumentation and consumables used in science laboratories in the NHS, government, industry, etc.
Press Release Body = Laboratory Equipment Market Report 2006
This Market Report examines the UK market for laboratory equipment, which is defined as the equipment/instrumentation and consumables used in science laboratories in the NHS, government, industry, etc. The laboratory equipment industry in the UK has a long history, having developed in tandem with the country\'s industrial revolution, and reflects the strength of the UK\'s science base. With estimated sales of £2.44bn in 2005, it is a relatively small industry (by contrast, the turnover of the chemical sector is estimated to have exceeded £56bn in the same year). Year-on-year growth between 2001 and 2005 reflects large increases in spending on the NHS and a relatively buoyant business environment that has supported expenditure on research and development (R&D).
Technological developments, such as miniaturisation and automation, are driving growth in the industry. Consumers are increasingly demanding space-saving options when purchasing new equipment, in order to contain or cut costs. The miniaturisation of instruments is also boosting the portability of laboratory equipment and manufacturers are increasingly focusing on mobility. Indeed, lab-on-a-chip technology will increase the trend towards miniature and more portable equipment over the next 5 years. Reproducing the functionality of a complete laboratory system at the size of a microchip no more than a few square centimetres in size offers huge advantages in terms of cost and time.
The market is not heavily reliant on any one sector. Indeed, the fact that public-sector organisations such as hospitals, schools and universities provide an important source of demand means that the industry is relatively well protected from the vagaries of the economic cycle - since governments tend to drive through annual increases in spending on these politically sensitive areas, whatever the state of the economy. However, industrial sectors also account for a large proportion of overall demand, and some of these industries, e.g. chemicals, are heavily influenced by the economic cycle. Nevertheless, the pharmaceuticals industry, which is this market\'s most important industrial customer, is relatively resilient to recession. It is also largely dependent on public- and private-sector spending on healthcare, and governments and consumers are reluctant to reduce expenditure in this area, even in times of economic hardship.
The laboratory equipment market should continue to grow rapidly, fuelled by technological developments that are boosting sales of added-value equipment, as well as the robust growth of R&D expenditure by industry - in particular, pharmaceuticals. However, spending by the NHS is likely to be less supportive from 2008, as the Government seeks to rein in the growth of public expenditure. According to newspaper reports in December 2005, which suggest that the cash crisis in the NHS is leading to a freeze on new spending, healthcare spending might already be slowing down. It is likely that an increasing proportion of sales will be supplied by emerging economies, such as China and India, where many of the multinationals that dominate the industry have already outsourced production. As their own scientific bases develop, these countries are likely to become increasingly important suppliers of laboratory equipment to the UK and other advanced countries.