The year 2020 has said goodbye to us, maybe you’ve gone through a long period of time where your clinics were closed, or maybe your online sales have grown in the past months instead. Now let’s take a look at 2020 hearing aid sales in the U.S. market.
Sales Performance in Private Sector and VA
The statistics presented by Hearing Industries Association (HIA) showed that the total number of US net hearing aid sales reached 3.47 million units in the year 2020, a decrease of 18.0%. Moreover, there was a 14.2% decrease in the commercial/private sector and a 34.0% decrease was experienced by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Distressing times began for hearing aid sales as soon as the pandemic lockdowns started in the second quarter. It resulted in a 52.5% decrease in commercial unit sales and a near-complete end of VA dispensing.
However, Q3 bounced back with an increase in sales by 0.46% and that is the reason it is viewed as a strong recovery period.
The fourth quarter of 2020 didn’t go quite well for the hearing aid dispensing industry. The rise in Covid-19 cases and lockdowns resulted in a decrease in the number of overall sales by 7.5%, hence making it a worse time for hearing aid sale
Covid-19 Impact Surveys
The first Covid-19 Impact Survey held in March showed that a lot of practices were closing their doors and there was a 25% drop in subsequent unit sales. Additionally, April was no better. The second Covid-19 Impact Survey showed that less than one-third of private and retail practices were physically checking patients and unit sales were somewhere around -85%. The third Covid-19 Impact Survey said that 74.8% of respondents were physically seeing the patients, out of which 38.2% were observing regular operational hours while 36.6% were the ones with reduced staffing.
Why Covid-19 Impact Hearing Care Industry so severely
Various pieces of evidence prove how the hearing industry is less likely to get affected due to recession as compared to other industries. However, the downside is that the hearing industry is quite vulnerable to pandemics and anything that stops older adults from leaving their homes, such as unexpected weather conditions for a longer time.
The reason why the Hearing Industry got affected by the pandemic is that the average age of first-time hearing aid buyers is 65+. These are the people who got the hardest-hit by the pandemic and are still at risk by the virus. As soon as the pandemic began, there was a lot of confusion, and fear of virus transmission.
Sales forecast for 2021
The year 2008 and 2020 saw the Great Recession; otherwise, the hearing aid unit sales growth has been strong, averaging 5.3% annually.
According to the majority of Hearing Care Industry market experts and analysts, a healthy comeback of hearing aid sales is expected in the year 2021. However, it still depends on how quickly the vaccine can be rolled out especially to the seniors and the economy to get back on track. Suppose, if we hypothetically take quarter three of 2020 as a start of sale rebound, it can be predicted that dispensing offices will start to prosper again. The first quarter of 2021 is regarded as the gradual end of the pandemic and slowly the increase in demand will bring good news to Q1.
As now the aging population is getting more aware of better hearing and its possible impact on both cognition and general health, the market has started to benefit from this.
The Opportunity of Online Sales
Covid-19 turned out to be beneficial for the manufacturers of online amplification devices. Experts involved in this market revealed that PSAP and online hearing aid makers enjoyed gains in the range of 15-20%. One of the most apt examples of this case scenario is Eargo. It saw a 97% net revenue growth in the year 2020 after its IPO raised $141 million in October.
The greatest lesson learned from 2020 is not to take anything for granted, be it a business or personal life. Now, as the pandemic is expected to end soon with the arrival of vaccines, market analysts are content that the hearing industry will see exceptional growth, hopefully in the first quarter.