Within the European medical technology market there is one country which is leading the way and it’s Germany (although you probably guessed that from the title of this article!).
In today’s blog I wanted to take a look at some of the reasons why this nation are ahead of the rest, but first let’s take a quick look at some statistics to put into context how far ahead Germany currently is:
- In 2020 there were sales to the value of $41 billion in the German MedTech market.
- In 2018 they had 27.1% of the European medical device market, with France in second place (14.6%) and the UK third (11%).
- Germany also leads the in vitro diagnostic product market with a 19.4% share.
- They employ 133.3% more people in the MedTech space than the UK who are the second highest employers in European MedTech.
All pretty impressive stuff I’m sure you’d agree. However for a bit of context, in 2020 the US medical device market was estimated to be worth $176.7 billion, so it shows the gap between US and Europe.
But let’s focus on our own backyard for now and see if we can shed some light on why the German MedTech industry is doing so well.
As mentioned above the job market and opportunities within MedTech in Germany is a lot larger than other countries in Europe.
There are over 12,500 companies in Germany dedicated to medical technology. They employ approximately 227,700 which is 133.3% more than the 97,600 employed in the UK. At a basic level this means that due to the number of workers the output levels are greater hence the command of the marketplace.
But also when you have this volume of people it means more ideas each year so it increases the chances of unearthing new innovations and for them to be successfully adopted. In the last 15 years the number of patent applications submitted by German companies has almost doubled.
Having larger workforces means that you can also carry out robust testing and QA on everything which helps establish a country’s reputation for quality. I’m not saying other countries have poor testing but there is a reason why German is known as a ‘powerhouse in research and innovation.’
Another reason why the Germans are leading the field is that these 12,500 companies are fuelled by graduates from some of the leading medical schools in Europe. The universities in Berlin (Charité Universitätsmedizin), Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) and Heidelberg (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität) are all in the top 15 medical schools in Europe.
29% of students study either maths, engineering, science or computer science and there are more than 150 courses specialising in medical technology. Also schemes have been set up by leading medical device companies which are aimed at increasing interest in this field amongst young people (e.g. interactive museums).
Add into the mix the fact that since 2014 tuition fees were no longer charged and you can see why the country has a fantastic conveyor belt of talent going into this industry.
Innovation For An Ageing Population
Like most countries, Germany has an ageing population where it is forecast that by 2035 there will be 24 million over-65’s in the country. This is a third of the population so it represents a sizeable market for the medical devices industry and it is one that German companies are investing heavily in.
Investment is leading to big growth in this sector and is another reason why the German market is doing so well.
A few years ago studies found that the German population weren’t as accepting of digital technology. Many were reluctant to even subscribe to high-speed broadband and only 19% were signed up to the eGovernment portal which showed a challenge of getting the public to engage with technology.
Since then though this has acted as a catalyst and focused the government on increasing adoption of all things digital, which is having a positive impact on adoption rates within the medical device and software space. Now the “average German has started expecting and even anticipating more technology in their everyday professional and personal lives.”
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