Over-the-counter purchasing of pulse oximeters expected to increase due to COVID-19, says GlobalData

The global pulse oximetry systems market was set to reach US$1.6bn by 2028 growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With low blood oxygenation being one of the main symptoms that characterizes COVID-19, there has been a surge in over-the-counter purchasing of pulse oximeters, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Aliyah Farouk, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “All the patients with acute respiratory problems are typically monitored with pulse oximetry systems in hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. The advancement in technology has resulted in the possibility of home-monitoring for patients with underlying health conditions.

“The market for wearable and hand-held pulse oximeters in home settings has therefore been robustly growing but is expected to be fuelled by COVID-19 influenced purchasing.”

According to GlobalData’s influencer tracker, interest in pulse oximeters for COVID-19 management began to spike in early March 2020 and continued to increase since then. However, as the market is saturated with cheap alternatives, there are fears that patients are purchasing non-FDA approved pulse oximeters.

Nevertheless, manufacturers are looking to boost their production capacity and online vendors are positioned to benefit from the increased demand.

Farouk continues: “The key driver of the market is the shift from hospital to home- care reflecting an increase in patient-centered consumer driven healthcare facilities.”

Patients are generally taking an increasingly active role in their health with a large demand for rapid analytics.

Farouk concludes: “Although the use of pulse oximeters in home-care settings can ease the burden on hospitals, the error margin can be high when the patients without medical training attempt to interpret results. In general, doctors consider an oxygenation saturation of 95% and above to be normal.  However, external factors such as movement artefacts and poor circulation can skew the results.”  

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