The global market for MRI systems was valued at $4.9bn in 2012 and is expected to reach $5.4bn in 2013, says a new report.

A number of different market dynamics are behind this steady growth, with BCC Research projecting the market to grow to $6.9bn in 2018, registering a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% from 2013 to 2018.

BCC Research explains that as MRIs become a standard in diagnostic healthcare, the manufacturers of MRI equipment are finding that innovation, higher tesla strength, application creation, and the need to create MRI systems that fit into the trend toward maximising diagnostic equipment usage are the keys to expanded sales.

The introduction of MRI technology to previously under-served populations outside of the US, Europe, and Japan also holds the promise of increased MRI system sales.

Dynamics and drivers

Innovation is reportedly occurring in both the design of units and the creation of new applications for MRI.

The emergence of 3 tesla (T) units in clinical settings has provided the power to visualise anatomical structures with enhanced clarity and precision. Specialised coils and magnets have evolved to aid in finer image quality. It is understood that these innovations have led to new clinical applications in neurology, cardiology, spinal, extremity, and breast areas.

In addition, reimbursement practices by both governmental and private insurers have driven MRI users to analyse their usage patterns and increase the use of MRI equipment to meet both customer demand and cost constraints. The new report from BCC Research says this increased utilisation will provide manufacturers with expanded opportunities for providing newer equipment and enhanced after-sale assistance.

According to BCC Research, the key drivers of this market include a globally ageing population, the continued rise in chronic diseases, access to healthcare by individuals who previously were under-served, and an expanding middle class in developing countries. Challenges are thought to include the use of other – sometimes more cost-effective – diagnostic technologies, and rising healthcare costs.

The new report, titled Medical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Technologies and Global Markets, is available now.