Saudi Arabia is the largest and most developed market for furniture in the Arab Gulf region valued at $700 million. Household furniture accounts for 60 percent of this total market, hospital and medical furniture accounts for 30 percent, with the remaining10 percent applicable to furniture not classified elsewhere. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) is the largest consumer of healthcare products and services, including hospital and medical furniture, consuming 76 percent of total market demand. Currently there are 387 hospitals, both general and specialized, with a total capacity of 53,519 beds in Saudi Arabia. With an annual population growth rate of 2.5% to 3%, statistics show that the country will require an additional capacity of around 47,000 beds for a total population of over 37 million by 2020. Demand for hospital beds is increasing by 4.6% annually. At the very least eleven (11) new hospitals, averaging 200 beds per hospital, need to be built per year to keep pace with population growth.
The high budgetary allocation for health sector valued at $16.3 billion in 2010, expansion and growth of existing hospitals and clinics, favorable government policies, and compulsory healthcare insurance have created a large demand for advanced healthcare services including hospital and medical furniture, and have boosted investments in these sectors.
The market demand for hospital and medical furniture in Saudi Arabia is strong and projected to remain so through the next several years. Massive investment in furnishing hospitals and clinics is driving interest in the hospital and medical furniture market, which is almost entirely dependent on imports. Several sources mentioned that there is very little domestic production beyond basic hospital and medical furniture.
In the past ten years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed significant developments in the banking and technology sectors. These changes spurred the sales of retail hospital and medical furniture sold to individuals and contract furniture sold to private clinics. With ongoing efforts to privatize public sector organizations and the issuance of new government rules aimed at encouraging foreign investments in the Kingdom, the demand for hospital and medical furniture, especially contract furniture, should continue to grow at a healthy pace. The $16.3 billion that has been allocated for the healthcare sector in the 2010 budget will enable the Ministry of Health to build 92 new hospitals with (17, 150) beds, renovate 22 hospitals, build a center for tumors and liver diseases at a cost of $1.68 billion, and primary healthcare centers, creating a large requirement for hospital and medical furniture. Investments in the following three local universities will also increase the demand for medical furniture: Princess Nora Bint Abdel Rahman University, which includes a 600-bed teaching hospital; King Saud University for Women, which includes a 400-bed teaching hospital; King Saud College for Medical Sciences (SANG), which includes a number of colleges and hospitals in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Ahsa and King Khalid University which has a teaching hospital in Abha with 800 beds.
This is in addition to the fact that Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a major construction program with a total of 83 projects ranging from the $400 million (King Saud University Medical City in Riyadh) to the $5 million (Qatif Central Hospital expansion in the Eastern Province). Saudi Arabia leads the way with total healthcare projects valued at more than $6.6 billion currently under construction. Moreover, a huge medical tower valued at more than $26 million will be constructed to expand Al Mousa Hospital located in Al Ahsa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, which will be completed by 2011.
By Maisa Al Tawil