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May 2002
Vol. 5, No. 5, p 12.
 
news in brief

From pipets to mass spec

U.S. domestic sales of laboratory products
U.S. domestic sales for the laboratory products market (including all laboratory supplies and chemicals) rose by 5.5% in 2001 to $6.2 billion, according to the Laboratory Products Association (LPA) 2002 annual market analysis and forecast, Molecules, Money, & Bolstering Throughput, conducted by Copeland Economics Group. The increase was not as high as the 8–9% annual increases of the late 1990s, when the economy was expanding. However, a constant intensification of R&D by some industries—most notably pharmaceuticals, which increased R&D spending by 18.7% between 2000 and 2001 (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, www.phrma.org)—has allowed laboratory product sales to continue their moderate growth even during a recession.

Not surprisingly, the “industrial–bioscience” market, which includes laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry and other manufacturing industries, such as chemicals, biotechnology, and electronics, is the largest customer base for laboratory products. The diversity and volume of work carried out in this sector were responsible for more than $3.2 billion in sales in 2001, up 5.7% from 2000. The “patient care” market, including clinical diagnostics and therapeutics, accounted for more than $1.8 billion of last year’s pot. The fastest growinglaboratory markets, however, are universities ($840 million, up 7.4% from 2000) and government ($295 million, up 7.3% from 2000, including all levels). Biomedical research is booming in academic and government laboratories as the budget for the National Institutes of Health continues to skyrocket—it is on pace to double from 1998 to 2003. And of course, as research funding goes, so goes the spending on laboratory supplies.

The graph above shows industry totals broken into two categories: durables, such as analytical instruments and other laboratory equipment; and nondurables, which includes everything from chemicals to pipets to disposable multiwell plates and biochips. In terms of sales, the nondurables market is more than double the size of the durables ($4.3 billion compared with $1.8 billion in 2001, according to the LPA report); however, the latter is growing at a higher rate.

The future performance of the industry will depend largely on changing technological priorities and the state of the economy. For the time being, the LPA study forecasts that U.S. domestic sales will continue to grow by 5% annually in 2002 and 2003.

—DAVID FILMORE

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