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          For Immediate Release

2008/2009 U.S. MSPPSA report on Microplate Readers and Equipment

309 pages, 265 graphs and tables

Published: September 10, 2008

Price: $4795


Battle for Supremacy Continues in the N. American Microplate Reader Market: Detection Flexibility Bigger Key to Success than Microplate Density

The research market for microplate readers and associated instrumentation has been roiled for the past decade by a technological race for supremacy. First there was the race for microplate density, the ability to read ever more tightly arrayed microplates (from the original 96-well format, to the 384-well format, and to the 1536-well format). This expensive gambit failed to deliver as the majority of bioresearchers continue to rely on the traditional 96-well format.


Estimated Population of N. American Bioresearchers Using Various Microplate Formats

Microplate Format

Population Using

Format Exclusively

Population Using Multiple Formats

Total Population













Total # Resps






Soon after, came the race to accommodate an ever-increasing range of detection modes. Not long ago, the majority of microplate readers were based solely on dedicated absorbance measurements. Over the past decade, we have watched microplate reader manufacturers invest heavily in instruments able to read an astonishing range of detection modes, and with increasingly sophisticated levels of automation. Today, multimode instruments rule. But, many suppliers have been hurt in the ensuing battle for supremacy.


The most recent report by PhorTech International provides a fresh look at the current state of the microplate reader market, last measured in our 2002 report by the same title. It focuses on the North American market for microplate readers and automated process instrumentation with annual sales this year projected to be more than $150 million. The analysis is based upon more than 420 responses to an in-depth, web-based survey, conducted in June 2008.


A wide cross-section of life science researchers from a variety of disciplines was surveyed. On average, respondents had more than 12 years of experience with microplate technology, and represented close to 300 different organizations. The majority of respondents answered for their entire laboratory, so the sample as a whole represents the microplate usage of nearly 1,900 randomly selected current users of microplate readers and associated instruments.



This comprehensive 309 page study examines the installed base for microplate readers purchased over the last three years and makes a detailed investigation of instrumentation that automates the handling and processing of microplates.


Unit and dollar market shares for major manufacturers of readers purchased in the last three years identifies the market leader, but also shows four companies competing for second place in the largest sector, multiple mode microplate readers. Shares for another segment of this market, readers with absorbance detection only, reveals the top two companies followed by multiple relatively minor players. The third much smaller segment representing readers with dedicated luminescent detection has a unique mix of major players. The position of major companies amongst researchers in the industrial sector and non-industrial sector is compared. This data shows recent changes in the growth trends noted in earlier surveys.


Through detailed analysis of the over 30,000 plates run on a monthly basis, the usage of various formats of microplates (96-well, 384-well and 1536-well plates) is presented along with modes of detection, including newer technologies such as AlphaScreen, as well as the more traditional modes. From respondentsí use of the seven detection modes, user population sizes and estimates of the annual throughput of microplates is presented. Here, and throughout the report, the responses from industrial and non-industrial researchers are compared.



Respondents were also questioned in detail about their current level of microplate automation, as can be seen in the screen captures from the survey questionnaire shown below: In order to properly understand respondents' level of automation, each was asked to indicate which of the process steps in a microplate workflow that they had already automated.



And which plate transfer between process steps had been automated.


In addition, respondents were asked about their future purchase plans regarding automation and to describe the instruments and manufacturers they were considering adopting.



Market share analysis reveals that a different manufacturer leads each of these sectors, in each case earning between 30% and 40% of both the unit and dollar shares. Our analysis shows that automation of the reading process continues to be far more common than automation of any of the other steps (dispensing, pipetting, incubating, plate transfer, or washing).


The report is packed with hundreds of verbatim comments, providing manufacturers with a wealth of direct feedback regarding the original reason for selecting a specific brand of reader, the rationale for current satisfaction or dissatisfaction with that instrument, as well as suggestions for improvements.


Several new questions have been introduced at clients' request. For example, respondentsí likelihood to recommend filter-based versus monochromator-based wavelength selection is now measured, along with the reasoning behind the respondent's stated preference.



The relative importance of 10 key factors under consideration when selecting a microplate reader manufacturer measures the most critical issues. Current usersí top-ranked suppliers for each factor clearly show areas of strength. Conversely, weaknesses canny competitors can capitalize upon are also revealed.


This report is undoubtedly the most comprehensive analysis of the current market for microplate readers or associated automated process instrumentation in North America and has already been purchased by 5 companies determined to strengthen their position in this challenging market. Enhanced by 265 graphs and tables, this study provides a penetrating analysis of the current methodology and future expectations. This report should be considered essential reading for anyone seriously intending to succeed in this competitive area.


The 66 companies mentioned in the report are identified in the following table.


Companies Mentioned in This Report

Anthos Labtec

Applied Biosystems

Apricot Designs


BD Biosciences

Beckman Coulter




Bio-Rad Laboratories



BMG Labtech




Corbett Life Science

Corning Costar



Dynex Technologies




GE Healthcare




Growth Curves USA








Luminex Corporation

MDS/Blueshift Technologies

MDS/LJL Biosystems

MDS/Molecular Devices

Meso Scale Discovery



PerkinElmer Life Sciences












Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher/Cellomics

Thermo Fisher/Labsystems

Thermo Fisher/Microtek

Thermo Fisher/Titertek



Turner Biosystems


VWR Scientific



A detailed summary of the report including table of contents and list of tables and graphs, as well as the methodology and project objectives, the survey demographics, and a copy of the survey questionnaire can be downloaded at the bottom of this page at no charge.


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.

To order this report, click here.