The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for digital pathology was valued at USD 986.24 million in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 1843.89 million by 2031, growing with a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Digital pathology is the process of transforming glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, handled, and interpreted on a computer monitor. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of the first full slide imaging system for digital pathology, gaining recognition, authentication, and worldwide acceptance of this technology. It is projected that the increasing frequency of chronic illnesses would heighten the medical urgency to embrace digital pathology in order to enhance existing patient diagnostic imaging measures and minimize the high cost of conventional diagnostics. In addition, the growing geriatric population prone to chronic illnesses is anticipated to increase demand for technologically sophisticated diagnostic methods. The increasing implementation of digital pathology in education and training and the integration of AI into digital pathology systems are significant factors fostering market growth. The U.S., the U.K., and Germany are presently the prominent markets for digital pathology.
Increasing Prevalence of Cancer
The World Health Organization reports that an unprecedented 9.6 million deaths and 18.1 million new cancer cases were recorded worldwide in 2018. The number of cancer cases is rising due to the increasing aging population coupled with sedentary lifestyles globally. According to the UN organization, the number of older persons is predicted to reach nearly 2.1 billion by 2050. Preclinical research using an animal model and clinical trials is vital in determining the drug's safety and efficacy. Digital pathology helps to reduce the risk of error, store drug data, incorporate data into electronic health records (EHRs), and assess the patient's reaction to a specific medication, etc. Increasing emphasis on drug development and drug discovery research and development is contributing to an increase in the number of clinical and preclinical trials that are boosting the growth of the global digital pathology industry. Increased emphasis on improving the productivity of the workflow and demand for faster diagnostic tools for chronic diseases such as cancer have been key drivers of development. In addition, the burgeoning geriatric population vulnerable to chronic conditions is also expected to raise demand for advanced technical diagnostic procedures.
Rapid technological advancements in digital pathology systems are predicted to contribute immensely to market growth. Digital imaging, computerization, robotic light microscopy, and multiple fiber optic communications are also determinants driving the market growth. Whole slide imaging has various advantages compared to traditional light microscopes, which are expected to bring forth lucrative opportunities for the market during the forecast period.
Furthermore, developments like microarrays and the introduction of a wide variety of predictive models like hybrid models and API algorithms are expected to accelerate the market growth for digital image analysis. Growing preference for computer-aided diagnosis that combines image processing, physics, mathematics, and computational algorithms, facilitates efficient disease detection and helps to determine anatomical structures of interest and measure disease progression as well as risk assessment.
The global digital pathology market is segmented based on product, application, and end-user.
Based on product, the market is segmented into devices, software, communication, and storage systems.
The devices segment dominated the market and generated the most income. Scanners and slide management systems are included in the devices segment. Increasing adoption of academic research activities and improved resolution is the segment's primary growth factors. Whole slide imaging offers breakthroughs in the magnification and scanning of slides along the Z-axis, which are projected to contribute to the lucrative expansion of this technology over the projection period. Additionally, user-friendly interfaces and high-bandwidth connectivity are anticipated to increase its utilization rates. Digital pathology scanners are continuously undergoing technological advancements from major manufacturers.
Based on application, the market is segmented into drug discovery, disease diagnosis, teleconsultation, and training and education.
The disease diagnostic segment is expected to experience the fastest growth during the forecast period, owing to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. Digital pathology includes various technologies for diagnosing diseases, including laboratory management systems, digital dictation, dashboards and workflow control, digital image analysis, electronic specimen labeling, and monitoring, and synoptic reporting tools. Manufacturers are focusing on developing novel and rapid diagnostic techniques. Digital technology help to enhance every diagnostic phase and make it easy to exchange information in inter-departments or intra-departments.
Based on end-user, the market is segmented into pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals and reference laboratories, and academic and research institutes.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies segment accounts for the largest share of the global demand for digital pathology by end-user. Factors leading to this segment's large share and fast growth rate include the rising use of digital pathology for drug discovery studies and drug toxicology research. Moreover, biotechnology corporations also use digital pathology to develop biobanking, biopharmaceutical trials, molecular assays, and personalized medicine.
Geographically, the digital pathology market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and The Middle East & Africa (LAMEA).
In terms of sales, North America holds the largest market share due to continuous R&D investments, supporting government initiatives relating to technologically advanced systems, growing digital imaging adoption, and the involvement of prominent players. In North America, the United States is the market leader. This expansion is attributable to companies focusing on digital pathology research and developing improved tools to enhance image analysis in the country. The accelerated use of digital pathology for the diagnosis of disease, coupled with favorable reimbursement policies in the U.S., enhancing the standard of cancer diagnosis, is anticipated to accelerate regional growth. The increasing implementation of digital pathology in education and training and the integration of AI into digital pathology systems are primary factors boosting regional market growth.
The growth of the European market is attributable to the increasing support for digital pathology projects, education, and training programs; the rising incidence of cancer; the growing adoption of digital pathology solutions in the United Kingdom; and the increasing number of conferences in Germany. The process of digital pathology scans glass slides and generates virtual pictures. Together, the virtual image and related clinical data provide pathologists with an integrated picture of cancer patients. Pathologists can then conduct additional diagnostic procedures, such as image analysis studies, that are impossible with conventional glass slides. These images may be viewed, annotated, and interpreted on a computer and can be used to diagnose and treat cancer. Moreover, according to a survey by the Association of Clinical Pathologists, the adoption of digital pathology is high in the United Kingdom, and its use is projected to expand in the coming years. Moreover, pathologists in the United Kingdom want direction, training, and education regarding digital pathology solutions. Due to the increasing incidence of cancer in the United Kingdom, the digital pathology market in the country is anticipated to expand over the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest pace during the forecast period due to growing digital imaging penetration in emerging economies, increasing healthcare expenditure, medical innovation, and demand for cost-effective digital pathology. In light of the elevated rates of cancer cases, the Asia-Pacific healthcare industry has been affected strongly. Growing demand for innovative treatment options, better patient care facilities, and reduced laboratory expenditures are also expected to push demand further. Japan has the largest market share, contributing more than a quarter of the total market share to the Asia-Pacific digital pathology industry. In addition, the country is expected to continue its dominant presence during the projected period. However, the Indian market for digital pathology is anticipated to have the greatest CAGR.
LAMEA is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. The rise in cancer incidences, increase in teleconsultations, high efficiency of digital pathology systems, increased adoption rate, and increasing government and industry player activities are driving the growth of the digital pathology market in LAMEA. In addition, the increasing demand for integrated healthcare facilities, which can be attained by implementing digital pathology systems, would present service providers with profitable growth opportunities if they can overcome obstacles such as the high cost of installing new technology or infrastructure. On the other hand, rigorous regulatory concerns for primary diagnosis, the absence of standard guidelines for digital pathology, lack of reimbursement, and experienced staff are anticipated to restrain the growth of the digital pathology market in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa region.
The most prominent players in the market are
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