Austria is a dynamic EU member country with an affluent population of 8.3 million German speakers. Austria’s manageable size and stable business environment make it an attractive market for U.S. exporters, as well as an attractive test market for U.S. firms with an eye toward expansion into neighboring Germany. Austria’s historical and economic ties to the strong growth markets of Eastern and Southeastern Europe also make it a logical base for serving those markets. At present, approximately 340 U.S. firms have subsidiaries, affiliates, franchisees, and licensees in Austria, of which about 150 have regional responsibilities for Central European, Eastern European, or Balkan countries. U.S. products and services enjoy a good reputation in Austria.
This report deals with market opportunities for in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) in Austria, used in hospitals, medical laboratories, and medical practices but also used for home-testing purposes.
In Austria, the market for IVD started to grow rapidly in the late 1990’s, and the growth rate by the beginning of 2000 was estimated to be as high as 9 - 10%. The growth rate has now slowed to a current level of 3%. U.S. firms held an import market share of 21.6% in 2009, indicating that the Austrian market remains a good prospect for U.S. companies in the IVD sector. In fact, the market is strongly import oriented. Germany is in first place as supplier to Austria, with 38.4% of Austria’s imports of IVD. Behind the second-ranked U.S. among foreign suppliers are the Sweden and France with 5.7% each and Ireland with 5.5%.
Imports from the United States totaled $65.6 million in 2009. The forecast for 2011 is $76.6 million. A real growth rate of 4% for U.S. imports into Austria in this sector over the next three years seems realistic.
In 2009, Austrian imports of IVD totaled $304.2 million. For 2011, these imports are expected to increase to $335.5 million. Austria is a transit-trade country, with strong trade relationships with Central, Eastern and Southeastern European and Near and Middle Eastern countries. Demand for IVD in Austria was $293.2 million in 2009, while exports of these products were $241.5 million. Re-exporting products is quite common here, hence the greater volumes of imports over domestic market demand. Taking into consideration these re-exports, IVD imports from all suppliers are expected to increase at an average annual real growth rate of 3%.
Austrian market growth is based mainly on developments in the self-test market, which represents the sub-sector with the greatest market growth. The laboratory diagnostics market has stayed generally at the same level. About 40% of the 2009 sales were achieved with biotechnologically derived products.
Market trends in the IVD sector indicate that biotechnologically manufactured reagents will continue to grow, as will rapid and microbiological diagnostic tests. Genetic probe tests continued to in high demand, and sales increased in 2009. These tests are used mainly in the diagnosis and treatment of thrombo-embolic diseases, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, and Chorea Huntington disease. The market will see further alliances between IVD suppliers and university clinics and hospitals, to offset the cost of investments in R&D. The Austrian market for IVD products will continue strong over the next 5 to10 years. Reasons include:
An aging population:
One of the major socio-political and health care challenges in the coming years will be the rapid growth of the population of the elderly. The number of people over 75 years of age is approximately 670,000 today. This figure will have exceeded 925,000 by the year 2025. At the present time, 20% of Austrians have reached retirement age, and it is projected that 25% of the total population will be retired in the year 2025. Beginning in 2006, that segment of the population between 15 and 59 years of age will begin to shrink, compounding the demographic challenge to the health care system.
A higher life expectancy:
A positive factor influencing market demand for IVD is higher life expectancy. In Austria, the average life expectancy has greatly improved, from 62 years for men and 68 for women in the 1950's to 75.5 years for men and 81.5 for women today. There has been a noteworthy decrease in the number of births over the last three decades, reflected in the changing demographic profile of the Austrian population. The population is aging as in most developed nations. The life expectancy for men is expected to rise to 79 years for men and to 85 years for women by the year 2030. These trends have created new niche markets and an increasing demand for IVD products.
The expanded preventive programs for chronic diseases:
The Austrian Federal Ministry for Health regularly introduces new preventative programs for life-threatening and chronic diseases.
Improved infectious disease monitoring and management:
The Austrian Federal Ministry for Health, and the Health Departments at the nine provincial governments, are continuously improving the country’s infectious disease monitoring and management systems. They maintain major stocks of several types of IDV test kits. These products have to be replaced from time to time.