The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) announced the release of its Q1 2020 results of its members, providing insight into how the UK and Irish hearing care market fared in the first three months of 2020 as we entered lockdown.
Not surprisingly, the UK figures are slightly down on Q4 2019, with over 400,000 units sold. Ireland Q1 units were particularly robust following a strong Q4 in 2019, with 16,830 units sold, according to BIHIMA.
The private market was affected from mid-March by a reduction in activity due to COVID-19. Despite this, the private market still showed a 1.4% growth on the same period in 2019, selling 83,732 units.
BIHIMA reports that the NHS market showed a significant 25.7% decrease on the same period last year. However, Q1 2019 figures were “significantly inflated” due to the NHS purchasing of emergency stock in preparation for the end of March 2019 Brexit deadline. Within the NHS market, comparisons across quarters is difficult as NHS purchasing patterns varied throughout 2019 in preparation for the various Brexit deadlines.
BIHIMA also tracks the trends in the styles of technology selected by patients in the private sector. Custom aids rose to 20.1% of total units in Q1 compared to Q4 2019, although still lower than a year ago when Q1 2019 was 23.7%. There was a marked switch from the smaller CIC/IIC custom aids compared to the larger ITE custom aids.
EHIMA published hearing aid sales data on the global market for 2019, which indicates that the overall market has grown by 6.4% to 17 million units. EHIMA acknowledges that while this year’s pandemic has caused a drop in sales, they predict the long-term demand for hearing aids to stay high.
“As we face an unprecedented situation due to COVID-19, uncertainty within the hearing health sector remains, but we can look ahead to better horizons,” said BIHIMA chairman, Paul Surridge. “While Q1 shows relatively strong figures, a dip in March signals a decline as we entered lockdown that is likely to continue into Q2. However, our industry has responded admirably to the pandemic, carefully balancing patient safety with the need for provision. And as we tentatively ease lockdown across the UK and Ireland, we hope to see our numbers return to normal as swiftly as possible,”
Download the full market data results here.
In its role as the voice for the hearing technology industry, BIHIMA regularly monitors the market and releases the results of its members every quarter. To keep up to date with the latest market information sign up to receive BIHIMA’s quarterly results here.