Smorum, Denmark — For the third quarter of 2011, the William Demant Holding Group (WDH) reports that its hearing aid business generated high organic growth rates and captured significant market shares. The company also said that it expects wholesale revenues of hearing aids to exceed market growth by 6% to 8% and to continue earnings and growth.
The report (PDF download), recently issued to stock holders on November 10, 2011, indicated that despite the uncertainty in the global economy, there is “no apparent historical correlation between the state of the economy and the demand for hearing aids. The quality of life of millions of hearing-impaired people is closely connected with the use of modern hearing solutions, and the underlying demand for hearing aids is intact.”
The report also predicts that the population of potential end-users is developing steadily and predictably and will continue through the coming decades. It also notes that since hearing aids are purchased largely without government support, government cutbacks should not affect sales.
In the third quarter, the United States hearing aid market “saw overall unit growth of 1%. With a growth rate of just over 1%, the US private market has driven this growth and for the first time in several years, it exceeds growth in sales to Veterans Affairs (VA), which was flat in the third quarter.” Europe and Japan are also expected to see continued growth.
WDH also sees a continued trend in the sale of mid-priced hearing aids. It stated, “None of the leading hearing aid manufacturers used EUHA as a platform to launch new high-end hearing aids, so market focus is still on hearing aids in the mid-priced and low-end segments. This less favorable product mix is a natural consequence of the present product lifecycle in the industry, but of course also dampens average selling prices.”
Case in point, WDH said that Oticon’s mid-priced and low-end lines, Acto and Ino, had good momentum from the second quarter and “obtained a strong position in the present market” dominated by mid-priced and low-end products.
In addition, the Bernafon brand generated decent unit growth in the third quarter, due to the low price categories.