1998/1999 European MSPPSA report on Electrophoretic Gel Media

159 pages, 177 graphs and tables

Published: May 8, 1998

Price: $2795

European Market Leader Losing Millions to Two Powerful Contenders

A whopping 70% of European life science researchers, over 69,000 individuals, currently use electrophoresis and spend over $40 million annually on gel media. Of these, 15,200 use ready-made gels while just over 4,000 use these gels exclusively. This small number of users generates significant sales accounting for a nearly $20 million business last year which is expected to grow by more than 10% this year. Detailed analysis of the 1997 hand-cast gel media consumption (of acrylamide and agarose but not counting buffers, cross-linkers and other additives) measures the European market at over $20 million, with a forecast growth of +13.0% for 1998.

A catastrophic loss of market share for the market leader for ready-made gels in Europe has been discovered since this was last examined in our 1994/5 series report. This share has been taken by not one, but two thriving competitors and this difference in share amounts to millions in dollars of sales lost annually.

These are two of the conclusions of a new 159 page study, which forms part of PhorTech's MSPPSA series. The report examines the installed base of gel media, with separate analyses for ready-made gels and hand-cast gel media including gel size, percent acrylamide, and media formulation (including native PAGE, SDS PAGE, gradient PAGE, electrofocusing, and various DNA gel types) for each segment. Unit and dollar placements per year, market sizes and growth rates, plus unit and dollar market shares for each of these gel types in six European regions are calculated, based upon an analysis of the responses to over 3,000 surveys mailed out to a cross-section of European life science researchers last Fall.

Another surprising result emerges regarding the favorite form in which gel media products are purchased. The majority of users prefer to hand-cast gels. However, 41.8% of respondents indicated that they use pre-mixed solutions for gel casting, significantly higher than the use of pre-mixed powder.

Complete demographic analyses for respondents to this survey include the distribution of users by type of organization, geographic distribution, electrophoretic techniques in use, and areas of scientific expertise. Electrophoretic users were focused predominantly in molecular biology, but also were found in higher concentrations among biochemists, cell biologists, and microbiologists, as well as to a lesser extent among neuroscientists and immunologists.

Significant differences in market share for hand-cast gel media are measured in various geographic regions around Europe. One leading international company has regional market shares varying from 13 to 60%, while another (that sees itself as the market leader in electrophoresis) has a current market share of the hand-cast gel media market varying from a high of only 20% down to 2%.

Customer satisfaction ratings are measured for leading vendors of ready made gels and hand-cast gel media. The suppliers of ready-made gels obtained excellent scores. Scientists seem very satisfied in general with hand-cast gel media. Respondents rated leading suppliers of ready-made gels specifically in the areas of value for money, consistent quality, highest resolution, fastest delivery, best application support, and widest product range. One company achieved top positions in all six categories by a wide margin, although the scores were significantly lower in many instances than were achieved in our earlier 1994 European gel report. Another major supplier improved in terms of perceived quality and application support, but then lost ground in terms of value for money and rapid delivery.

The report itemizes literally hundreds of specific verbatim suggestions for improvements of both ready-made and hand-cast gel media by current users, as well as comments as to which suppliers they would recommend and which they would refuse to buy from, and why respondents would or would not purchase ready-made gels. Reading these comments is equivalent to spending weeks of time in the field with end-users and provides essential insight for suppliers to this lucrative market.

Based upon a newly revised survey questionnaire, this gel media report is the largest and most comprehensive issued to date. Over 177 graphs and tables distill a wealth of data into a clear and salient tool for understanding this complex market. This report is required reading for any supplier trying to succeed in this lucrative but turbulent marketplace.

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