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2004/2005 U.S. MSPPSA report on Electrophoresis Equipment & Media Market

252 pages, 334 graphs and tables

Published: August 27, 2004

Price: $3995


Increasing Profits in Electrophoresis as Researchers Show Willingness to Trade Capital for Labor

A whopping two thirds of U.S. life science researchers, over 93,000 individuals, currently use electrophoresis and spend well over $100 million annually on these products. Of this, the majority is spent on reagents, with ready-made gels taking an ever-increasing and value-added slice of this pie. For the first time, measurement of this market sector shows that sales from ready-made gels now outstrips hand cast media.



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. In addition, over 20% of current users plan to purchase additional electrophoretic instrumentation in the coming year.


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 250+ page study, which forms part of PhorTech's MSPPSA series. The report examines the installed base over the past ten years for electrophoresis chambers for protein applications (including standard vertical, mini vertical, electroblotting units, electrofocusing units, and preparative systems). The report continues with a detailed investigation of nucleic acid electrophoresis instrumentation (including submarine rigs, manual sequencing units, plus systems for DGGE, SSCP, and pulsed field electrophoresis).



However, the report wouldn't be complete without a detailed audit of power supplies, which have traditionally rivaled the other segments in size. As mentioned earlier, there is a renewed focus upon consumables in this new report, especially ready-made gels but also a detailed look at hand-cast gel media. For example, the graph shown at the top of the next page shows the dollar market share for powdered agarose suppliers. Dozens of similar graphs cover equally precise market segments.


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 421 responses to invitations e-mailed out to a cross-section of U.S. life science researchers in May 2004.


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 87.9% of all users, is followed by the 50.8% using electroblotting and, compared to our previous study, a smaller proportion using submarine methods for nucleic acid separations (48.0% down from 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 1,730 protein electrophoresis chambers, 987 chambers for nucleic acid electrophoresis, plus 868 power supplies), we were able to show detailed graphs of growth over the past five years. We then combined this dataset with the results of our previous study from 2001 and present an entire decade of data covering the US electrophoresis market. Using this longitudinal dataset, we establish market sizes and growth rates for each of these 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 five 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 the 25 leading suppliers to this market. Extrapolating to the market as a whole, we show tables of annual US sales for 1995 through 2004 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-savvy 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.


This report is undoubtedly the most comprehensive analysis of the current market for electrophoresis products in the U.S. and has already been purchased by astute competitors determined to strengthen their position in this lucrative market. Enhanced by over 330 color graphs and tables, this study provides a penetrating analysis and should be considered essential reading for anyone seriously intending to succeed in this competitive area.





Original press release for this reportSee original press release for this report in Adobe Acrobat format.

Detailed contents, methodology, demographics, and questionnaire for this reportSee detailed contents, methodology, demographics, and questionnaire for this report in Adobe Acrobat format.