The global wheelchairs market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.67% over the forecast period to reach a market size of US$6,448.714 million in 2026 from US$4,138.562 million in 2020.
A wheelchair is referred to as a chair with wheels and is used by people who have difficulty in mobility due to an illness, injury, or old age. The innovation in the wheelchair segment owing to the introduction of automated systems that can be used to operate the chair is a key factor for increased adoption amongst the people who need it. The automated systems in the chair have made the people using it more independent and mobile with several other advantages. The market for the wheelchair is further driven by the market players launching newer products with advanced technologies in order to support the patients who are in need of the chair. The introduction of ergonomic hand rims for wheelchair lets the patient propel themselves comfortably, the shape design of an ergonomic hand rim is different than conventional hand rims since it is designed to fit a user’s hand posture and positioning. With the rapid innovation taking place in the technologies to be used in a wheelchair, an increasing number of patients are finding it easier and less expensive than the alternatives to opt for a wheelchair.
Furthermore, the market for wheelchairs is also driven by the increasing number of spinal injury patients worldwide. For instance, according to the 2019 Spinal Cord injury data sheet provided by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are more than 17,730 new spinal cord injuries each year in the United States out of which males account for about 78% of the new cases. Moreover, according to the report 249,000 to 363,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury.
The report put forward by the center also highlights the key causes of a spinal injury. Vehicle crashes are the most recent leading cause of such an injury, closely followed by falls; acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds); and sports/recreation activities are also relatively common causes. The increase in the cases of spinal injury disabling the victim of mobility has fuelled the demand for wheelchairs at a global level.
The advent of COVID-19 had an adverse impact on the global wheelchairs market since the pandemic disrupted the supply chain for the manufacturing of new products in the category. Moreover, the demand for wheelchair declined owing to the implementation of lockdown protocols which restricted the mobility of the citizens and consequently resulting into a lesser number of accidents, injuries and other such cases which requires wheelchairs. The traffic in several countries witnessed an all-time low due to the protocols and thus preventing road accidents. The patients suffering from injuries and diseases other than the COVID-19 declined and if there rose any such case, they were advised at-home consultations. With the healthcare sector recovering usual operations, the patients are returning to the hospitals for an in-person consultation, the demand for wheelchairs is expected to recover during the forecast period as well.
The segmentation of the global wheelchairs market has been done into type, end-user, distribution channel, and geography. By type, the classification of the market has been done into Manual and electric. By end-user, the classification of the market has been done into Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Homecare and others. By distribution channel, the classification of the market has been done offline and online. Furthermore, on the basis of geography, the global market has been distributed as North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the Asia Pacific.
The emerging trend of wheelchair sports is expected to offer lucrative growth opportunities
The growth of the wheelchair market is fuelled by a significant rise in the number of upcoming wheelchair sports events across several countries. The emergence of different types of wheelchair sports is a key factor that is expected to drive the market during the forecast period. The games played in wheelchairs are basketball, which is one of the first games to be adapted for wheelchair sports in 1956, rugby, softball, soccer, hockey, tennis, table tennis, bowling, weightlifting, archery, wheelchair racing, and a lot of others. The emergence of different types of sports that can be played on wheelchairs is expected to drive the market of such chairs during the forecast period. The rise in the upcoming national, as well as state events for wheelchairs, is expected to fuel the demand for sports wheelchairs in the coming years. For instance, according to the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), the upcoming Tokyo Summer Paralympic games are to be held from August 4 to September 5 and is expected to feature 4400 athletes that will be competing in 537 medal events.
Electric segment to witness notable growth
By type, manual wheelchairs are projected to hold a significant market share owing to their high demand in hospitals, airports, and other places. Also, the costs of these wheelchairs are considerably lesser than electric wheelchairs making them more affordable particularly in the emerging economies of the world. However, the electric segment will witness a promising growth owing to the growing demand due to ease of usage and ability to travel for longer distances without fatigue.
There is a high volume of companies working in the global wheelchairs market, however, some have solidified their position as the leading providers in this industry. These players are involved in a plethora of investments, product launches, and R&D as a part of their growth strategies to further strengthen their position and provide better products and services to their customers worldwide, which is further expected to propel the growth of the market in the coming years. For instance, in November 2020, Invacare Corporation one of the globally leading brands based out of Ohio, United States, that is engaged in the manufacturing and supply of medical equipment including wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walkers, pressure care, and positioning, as well as respiratory products announced the launch of its latest innovation i.e., AVIVA FX – MPS Maxx Multi-Position Power Standing System wheelchair, available through Motion Concepts, a division of Invacare. Similarly, in August 2018, the company announced the launch of the Top End Eliminatorracing wheelchair made of carbon fiber via its Top End Wheelchair brand.
Prominent/major key market players in the global wheelchairs market include Invacare Corporation, Medline Industries, Ottobock, and Drive Medical among others. The players in the global wheelchairs market are implementing various growth strategies to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors in this market. Major market players in the market have been covered along with their relative competitive strategies and the report also mentions recent deals and investments of different market players over the last few years. The company profiles section details the business overview, financial performance (public companies) for the past few years, key products and services being offered along with the recent deals and investments of these important players in the global wheelchairs market.