Renewed strong UK and Ireland hearing aid sale stats also reveal unwavering shift to rechargeable battery use
- Published on 06 March 2022
Private sector Hearing instrument sales figures for the final quarter of 2021 show continued UK and Ireland recovery from the pandemic plummet. NHS performance in the UK is also recovering.
Latest stats from the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) covering Q4 in the UK private market saw a slight dip in sales of 1% compared to Q3 of 2021, which had been a record quarter, but the market still saw an overall annual increase in sales of 130k units in 2021, compared with 2020, up by 46%, and up by 20% on 2019. Since the vertiginous Q2 fall in 2020, quarterly news has improved across the hearing aid industry to give a picture of robust global health.
Significantly, the two big pandemic periods of 2020 and 2021 combined registered a 2% increase on 2019, a year with good sales but made harder to read because it was impacted by concerns about Brexit and considerable stockpiling.
Battery use steadily moving to "sustainable" rechargeable power
BIHIMA points out that the UK private sector and Irish market continue their movement away from traditional zinc air batteries to Li-ion rechargeable batteries with 71% of all sales now rechargeable. The UK public sector is yet to make the switch.
The Irish market fell slightly in Q4, by 3k units compared with Q3 2021, but sales were up by 4k compared with the fourth quarter in 2020, says the manufacturer organisation. The year overall showed significant growth – up 29% on 2020 and up 35% on 2019. There was a total increase of 15k units sold over 2020/2021 compared with 2019.
Still room for recovery in the NHS, the biggest market
Public sector sales in the last quarter of 2021 demonstrated the continued strong recovery in NHS volumes, up 16.6% on Q3 2021 and up 5.5% on Q4 2019, pre-covid. NHS sales for the whole of 2021 were up 36% on 2020 but were still below 2019 figures – down 18% – leaving room for more recovery. Over 2020 and 2021 there was a total loss of 888K units compared to 2019. Before the pandemic we’d seen an underlying growth of 3.4% each year: this scale of growth is yet to return.
“I’m delighted to see that the UK private market and the Irish market have bounced back from effects of the pandemic and that NHS sales continue to make a strong recovery. The continued increase in use of rechargeable batteries in the UK private and Irish markets is a clear sign the industry is prioritising sustainability,” said BIHIMA chair Paul Surridge.
Check out the full Q4 2021 market data here.