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2001/2002 US MSPPSA report on Electrophoretic Equipment & eagents
215 pages, 292 graphs and tables
Published: March 6, 2001
Electrophoresis: An Excellent Business for Serious SuppliersA whopping two thirds of U.S. life science researchers, nearly 80,000 individuals, currently use electrophoresis and spend over $100 million annually on these products. Of this, the vast majority is spent on reagents, with ready-made gels taking an ever-increasing and value-added slice of this pie. This business is expected to continue to grow as more than 75% of current users plan to purchase additional instrumentation in the coming year. Growth is forecast to be especially torrid for ready-made gels at the expense of traditional hand-cast gel media, as more and more life scientists convert to these labor-saving consumables.
What has this meant for suppliers? Those with a consistent focus on this market have done well, while those with less commitment have suffered badly in the past five years.
These are a few of the conclusions of a new 215 page study, which forms part of PhorTech's MSPPSA series. The report examines the installed base of electrophoresis chambers for protein applications (including standard vertical, mini vertical, electroblotting units, electrofocusing units, and preparative systems), nucleic acid electrophoresis (including submarine rigs, manual sequencing units, plus systems for DGGE, SSCP, and pulsed field electrophoresis), along with power supplies, ready-made gels, and hand-cast gel media. Unit and dollar placements per year, market sizes and growth rates, plus unit and dollar market shares for each of these product categories are calculated, based upon an analysis of the 409 responses to invitations e-mailed out to a cross-section of U.S. life science researchers last October.
Complete demographic analyses for respondents to this survey include the distribution of users by type of organization, electrophoretic techniques in use, and types of samples analyzed and whether ready-made or hand-cast gels are used. Electrophoretic users are ubiquitous and found in high concentrations among researchers in all organizational segments and the majority of users separate both protein and nucleic acids samples using the rich variety of techniques available. In fact, the single most popular technique, SDS-PAGE used by 79.4% of all users, is closely followed by those using submarine methods for nucleic acid separations (66.7%).
Respondents were asked to itemize any electrophoretic equipment they had acquired in the past five years, describing the brand and model of the instrument, the number of units, the year of acquisition, and the category of instrument, according to a provided list. From this wealth of data (respondents itemized 1,386 protein electrophoresis chambers, 1,325 chambers for nucleic acid electrophoresis, plus 814 power supplies), we were able to show detailed graphs of growth over the past five years and to establish market sizes and growth rates for various categories of equipment. We can, for example, tell you what percent of sales were for power supplies offering more than 1000 volts and whether these are becoming more or less popular, and what percent of electrophoresis users purchased a unit for DGGE electrophoresis.
We also asked respondents to itemize all ready-made gels or hand-cast gel media they purchase, once again describing the makes and types of media in detail. From this database, we again extrapolate to total US sales and calculate unit and dollar market shares for product categories (7 classes of ready-made gels plus three types of gel media). Readers of this report will be able to see how popular ready-made gels have become and what outlook is forecast for the coming years.
In addition, we calculate both unit and dollar market shares for suppliers, and look at the mix of electrophoretic products sold by leading suppliers. Extrapolating to the market as a whole, we show tables of annual US sales estimates for 1995 through 2000 and we find the total US market now well in excess of $100 million. An entire section of the report is dedicated to future purchase plans and we use this data to project future growth rates and lines of products forecast to grow least and most rapidly. Over-confident suppliers will ignore these statistics at their own peril, while market-savy suppliers will use this data to increase their market share and avoid market dead zones.
Customer satisfaction ratings are measured for leading vendors of instrumentation as well as for suppliers of ready made gels and hand-cast gel media. Overall, many suppliers achieved excellent scores both for instrumentation and reagents. However, we probed carefully in these areas and asked respondents to rate instrument manufacturers in five key areas (ease of use, reliable quality, value for money, design versatility, and service/support) and reagent suppliers in four areas (value for money, consistent quality, rapid delivery, and application support). While one company achieved overwhelming scores, we see another major name in electrophoresis wither from their respectable ratings of just a few years ago. That so much can change in so little time underscores the importance of consistent and periodic assessments such as this report series provides.
Finally, the report itemizes literally hundreds of specific verbatim comments regarding suppliers performance, why certain brands or models of products would not be purchased again as well as the reasons why ready-made gels are not currently used. Reading these comments is equivalent to spending weeks of time in the field with end-users and provides essential insight for suppliers.
Based upon a newly revised survey questionnaire, this electrophoretic equipment and reagents report is the largest and most comprehensive issued to date. Over 290 graphs and tables distill a wealth of data into a clear and salient tool for understanding this complex field. This report is required reading for any serious supplier wanting to succeed in this excellent business.