It's estimated that 20% of adults are suffering from pain globally and consumers’ choice for at-home treated pain relief has expanded from analgesics to a combination of devices that were once found only in doctors’ or physical therapists’ offices. According to Kline’s recently published Pain Management Devices: Global Market Analysis and Opportunities report series, the consumer market for these devices has grown at a rate of nearly 10% to reach $2bn in 2015.
“In the United States, the segment grows three times faster than the over-the counter internal analgesics segment, which has increased at a rate of over 3% last year,” comments Karen Doskow, Director, Consumer Products Practice. “The drug-free pain relief solutions are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, and this incredible growth rate gives the entire healthcare industry a boost. This market should be of interest to a variety of companies, ranging from pharma players, such as AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer, to consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Panasonic, and professional manufacturers, such as such as ACP (Accelerated Care Plus Corporation) and Chattanooga (DJO Global), as it offers an entry into new channels of distribution, as well as appeals to a group of consumers who are open to self-care options.”
According to Kline’s attitude and usage survey of pain management professionals in China, Germany, Mexico, and the United States, the most recommended types of devices by healthcare professionals for at-home use for pain management are TENS, heat/ice packs, and heat devices. Light devices are the least recommended for at-home use, but still have a relatively high recommendation rate.
While Asian countries are accustomed to seeing these high-tech products, the powered devices segment is in the nascent stage in countries like Brazil, Mexico, and even the United Sates, opening up plenty of opportunity for savvy marketers. Those marketers that are already entrenched in the market are arming their once traditional devices, such as heating pads or massagers, with new technology to make them more pertinent to today’s demanding consumer. The heating pad from the past has been updated to include dual functions, such as the Sunbeam Heating Pad with Massage Action. New multifunctional TENS devices are being launched by marketers like Omron and ELECOM in Japan. Others are introducing new technologies, such as a digital anti-inflammatory device called The Willow Curve from Physician’s Technology in the United States, which is designed to relieve joint pain with thermal and photonic energy.
While the competitive field for consumer use pain management devices has been highlighted by the entrance of Icy Hot and Aleve in the United States or Israeli-based iPulse Medical recently launching its menstrual pain treatment worldwide, it is expected that many more companies will enter the at-home segment in the near-term.