It is estimated that obesity is affecting 1/3 of the North American population, which translates into 58 million people approximately. Various studies have shown that in the United States, almost 25% of the people with disabilities were obese as compared to 15% of people without disabilities. It is evident that at a certain weight, even people with normal strength are not able to functionally propel a wheelchair. Since rolling resistance is related to weight, a person with disability and who is obese will require greater strength to propel a manual wheelchair.
The number of people using wheelchairs in the United States is estimated to be around 2.2 million. Worldwide, it is estimated that 100-130 million people with disabilities need wheelchairs, however, less than 10% have access to one. Experts predict that the number of people who need wheelchairs will increase by 22% during the next ten years. In the United States, there are over 170 wheelchair manufacturers, and there total reported income was $1.33 billion. However, out of these, only five companies reported sales greater than $100 million. The wheelchair market is expected to exhibit a robust growth. This growth is due to the ageing baby boomers, growing life span and a rapidly ageing population. In the United States, wheelchairs account for about 1% of Medicare spending. Thus, it is evident that bariatric transport wheelchairs market is poised to exhibit a sustained growth in the coming decade.
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Bariatric Transport Wheelchairs Market: Drivers
Due to the fact that about one third of the North American population is now obese, wheelchair manufacturers are still reacting slowly to the demand for bariatric mobility equipment, thus providing opportunities for new players in the market. It is estimated that bariatric products are going to be the fastest growing mobility aid segment in the near future. All this could lead to a greater product innovation and intense competition in the bariatric transport wheelchair market. The power wheelchair systems possess a front wheel drive, centre wheel drive and rear wheel drive. This fulfils the demand for different driving handling characteristics under varying conditions. Such type of bariatric transport wheelchairs can be used both in the indoor and outdoor environments.
Typically, bariatric transport wheelchairs are used for individuals who weigh over 250 pounds and who have a BMI of greater than 25. Such kind of wheelchairs are built to handle the additional mass to custom products that can accommodate people weighing up to 1000 pounds. One of the significant mobility challenges for individuals using the bariatric transport wheelchair is the additional width of the wheelchair, which in some cases is as much as 60 inches. In view of the favourable healthcare policies of the United States government, reimbursement is driving the power wheelchair market. In addition, due to a rapidly aging population, more people are frail and need assistance for mobility. Power wheelchair market was valued at $1.5 billion in the year 2015 and is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2022.
Bariatric Transport Wheelchairs Market: Restraints
Even though the market is recognizing the need for bariatric transport wheelchairs, there are some restrains affecting the growth in this segment. These include a lack of skilled training and knowledge to handle obese patients and there is a lack of caregivers in this particular segment. In addition, there are no specific minimum weight requirements or code to follow in the manufacturing of bariatric transport wheelchairs.
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Bariatric Transport Wheelchairs: Key Regions
North America and Europe are the most lucrative markets for bariatric transport wheelchairs. Factors such as increasing rates of non-communicable diseases leading to disability and a growing epidemic of obesity are contributing factors driving the growth of bariatric transport wheelchairs market in these regions. In addition, government regulations in the healthcare arena are giving more people access to bariatric transport wheelchairs. The Asia Pacific region is also exhibiting a robust growth in the bariatric transport wheelchairs market.
Bariatric Transport Wheelchairs Market: Key Market Players
21st Century Scientific Inc., Drive Medical Design and Manufacturing, GF Health Products Inc., Invacare Corporation and Karman Healthcare are the key market players in North America.