World Market for Personal Mobility Devices (Wheelchairs, Scooters, Walking Aids)

The World Market for Mobility Devices is expected to grow at 3.8% CAGR to approach nearly $6 billion by 2018.

Key Segments:

  • Manual wheelchairs account for a larger share of revenues and unit sales than power wheelchairs or scooters.
  • The US and W. European market account for about 70 % of the world market.
  • The fastest growing segment is walking aids which includes canes and crutches, walkers and rollators.

Key Drivers

  • Growing patient population, primarily attributable to increasing longevity and rates of chronic diseases leading to impaired mobility.
  • Trend towards more active and independent living within the patient community.
  • Availability of compact, portable technologies that are partly or fully reimbursed through insurance.

The 2010 US Census determined that there were 3.6 million users of wheelchairs and a further 7 million users of canes, crutches or walkers.  Manual wheelchairs account for the largest share of the personal mobility devices market worldwide, since most wheelchair users have upper limb function.  

The versatility of manual wheelchairs for indoor and outdoor use, lightweight, foldable designs and relatively lower cost are other the factors that make them the most suitable choice compared to power wheelchairs or mobility scooters.  A new report by Marketstrat Inc. on the World Market for Personal Mobility Devices, estimates that the world manual wheelchairs market will grow about five times faster than that of power wheelchairs or scooters. Growing unit sales and demand for specialty and lightweight chairs will contribute in large part to this trend.

Power wheelchairs will continue to be the highest revenue segment in the US.  Outside the US, power mobility devices including wheelchairs and scooters are popular in the UK and other Western European countries. Critical to the growth of the power wheelchair and scooter market are factors like reimbursement and public infrastructure.

Walking aids on the other hand are used by all patients with sufficient upper body function.  According to the report, sales of walking aids dominated by walkers and rollators will soar in all regions due to the escalating rates of chronic disease like cardiovascular disease and diabetes that lead to mobility impairment.   Diabetes alone accounts for more than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations according to the American Diabetes Association.

The flood of imported brands will continue to add pressure to US manufacturers competing in the mobility aids market, where major manufacturers already contend with small local players offering customized wheelchairs and maintenance services.  Imports are predominantly low to moderately priced devices from Taiwan and China.  On the high-end range, small Scandinavian and other European manufacturers have successfully penetrated the US market through partnerships with large distributors of rehabilitation and assisted living products.

The Marketstrat report on the world mobility devices market presents market estimates and forecasts for wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility aids such as walking aids.  Also discussed are major players and their market shares, key market trends as well as regulatory and demographic factors that will influence this market.

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