The global electric wheelchairs market size was valued at USD 3,308 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 7,014 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.85% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Wheelchairs empower the user and their caregiver with mobility and freedom, allowing them to participate in daily activities without limited mobility. The electric wheelchair is a mechanized wheelchair with wheels and batteries that give the necessary power to propel the wheelchair in an intended way with less physical effort. The mobility of these chairs does not require human help. Both electric and conventional wheelchairs enable the user to move independently and engage in daily activities. Due to its user-friendliness and ability to travel without experiencing weariness, an electric wheelchair, in particular, promotes enhanced independence. Electric wheelchairs feature a lower center of gravity than manual wheelchairs. It means that the likelihood of it turning over is significantly reduced compared to a manual chair. Additionally, users can prevent unintentional rolling with brakes. In addition, movement in rugged terrain is made more accessible.
The global increase in the older population, the need for automated, autonomous wheelchairs, the rise in government spending on healthcare, and the high disposable income in industrialized nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany are all factors that contribute to the expansion of the global electric wheelchair market. However, the high price of power wheelchairs and the lack of awareness and infrastructure supporting easy wheelchair access hinder the market's growth. On the other hand, the introduction of intelligent wheelchairs equipped with artificial intelligence control systems and the rise in individuals' desire for active and independent lifestyles are anticipated to present prospects for makers to innovate and develop new products based on consumer preferences.
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Growing Geriatric Population and Incidence of Spinal Deformities
One of the major factors driving the sales of electric wheelchairs is the growing elderly population. These electric wheelchairs are becoming increasingly popular among those over 50. According to a UN prediction, the world's aging population is expected to increase steadily during the projection period. The senior population is prone to weakness and accidents brought on by falls. The United Nations estimates that around 9.0% of the world's population will be aged 65 and over in 2019. Additionally, a survey from the US Census Bureau predicted that by 2050, 17% of the world's population would be considered to be elderly.
As a result, the need for electric wheelchairs in hospitals and nursing homes for the elderly is anticipated to expand due to the staggering growth of the old population. According to figures provided by the World Health Organization, the share of the global population made up of adults 65 and older will double from 7% in 2000 to 16% in 2050. By that time, there will be more elderly individuals in the population than children. Thus, it is projected that growth in the old population will open up opportunities for using electric wheelchairs globally.
In addition, spinal stenosis is the most prevalent condition affecting men and women over 50. Age-related changes in the spine's structure, such as disc degeneration and inappropriate growth of the spinal bones and joints, resulting in spinal cord-related disorders. In addition, between 2019 and 2100, the percentage of EU-27 residents aged 80 or older is anticipated to more than double, from 5.8% to 14.6%. The market is expanding as a result of the growing elderly population. This is because older people are more likely to experience spinal problems, which is projected to benefit the international demand for electric wheelchairs.
Lack of Quality Healthcare and Infrastructure in Emerging Economies
Most people who are overweight or elderly live in developing or underdeveloped countries. Thus, it is anticipated that there will be significant growth in the demand for electric wheelchairs in these areas. However, the market expansion is hampered by a lack of supporting infrastructure, poor purchasing power, and low customer awareness. Furthermore, low-income nations offer poor-quality healthcare services. Lack of access to reliable healthcare facilities and supply networks is anticipated to impede the purchase of this equipment, which will have a detrimental effect on the market's expansion.
Due to the expensive specialized and automated controls used, electric wheelchairs are not cheap. High-quality materials are more costly to procure throughout the final manufacturing process, restricting equipment utilization. Furthermore, financial constraints, limited disposable income, and a lack of support from government agencies make it difficult for consumers, healthcare facilities, and other institutions to purchase this equipment. As a result, one of the leading market restraints is the high initial cost of electric wheelchairs.
Introduction of Technologically Advanced Products
The ever-increasing consumer demand for electric wheelchairs has necessitated the development of new technological capabilities. This is because the equipment requires to be more long-lasting and sturdier to support the weight of those who are obese. Furthermore, owing to technological advancements, less manual caregiving is needed now that automatic movement systems have been created. The patient can easily modify the wheelchair seat, and the device is controlled by built-in remote or automated controls.
Additionally, artificial intelligence-enabled wheelchairs have been made available on the market, allowing persons with disabilities to operate the chair by making facial expressions like raising their eyebrows and sticking out their tongues. Therefore, it is anticipated that market participants will gain economically from the need for technological advancements in this equipment to improve comfort and safety.
The global electric wheelchairs market is classified based on product, type, and region.
Product-wise, the global electric wheelchairs market includes Center Wheel Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Rear Wheel Drive, Standing Electric Wheelchairs, and Others.
The Center Wheel Drive section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 10.87% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. A wheelchair with center-wheel drive can turn 360 degrees using its footprint. This arrangement benefits consumers who require excellent maneuverability and have tight house areas. The front and rear casters prevent them from toppling forward or backward, so center-wheel electric wheelchairs are the most stable chairs on slopes. Additionally, due to their small casters, which cause an instantaneous shift in direction, these wheelchairs are more sensitive to changes in travel direction than the rear and front wheel drives. The center wheel drive is anticipated to have increasing demand due to these advantages. Some key companies operating the electric wheelchair market include Sunrise Medical and Invacare, which provide center-wheel drive wheelchairs with all-wheel independent suspension.
The Front Wheel Drive section will hold the second-largest market share. Wheelchairs with front wheel drives typically have the drive wheels up front and the castors behind. Although this style of wheelchair can be maneuvered, learning to drive one is challenging. With the driving wheels in front of the user's center of gravity, which is usually relatively stable, a front-wheel drive power base has a small turning radius. The demand for front wheel power wheelchairs is increasing due to their inside use, which is made possible by their users. The seating system included in these power wheelchairs is also designed to support active users' clinical, functional, and lifestyle requirements, contributing to the market's expansion.
Type-wise, the global electric wheelchairs market includes Adult Wheelchairs and Pediatric Wheelchairs.
The Adult Wheelchair section is projected to advance significantly and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. The growth is attributable to the aging population. At the same time, as elderly people become incapacitated from osteoarthritis-related pain or stiffness in their knees, hips, ankles, or feet, the need for wheelchairs increases. They are frequently employed as assistive technology to increase mobility and quality of life for those with trouble walking and carrying out daily duties.
North American Dominion Over the Market
Region-wise, the global electric wheelchairs market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America will command the leading market position, expanding at a CAGR of 8.75% during the forecast period. The demand for electric wheelchairs has skyrocketed in this region due to a rise in the population of seniors. Additionally, several businesses that produce electric wheelchairs have their corporate headquarters in the United States. Furthermore, due to the continued acceptance of technologically improved items, North America has seen a significant gain in revenue. Power wheelchair adoption has expanded due to the premiumization of electric wheelchairs, thus fueling the market expansion.
The primary factor driving the market in North America is the increase in the use of electric wheelchairs indoors and outside. The need for wheelchairs among the baby boomer generation will likely increase demand. Furthermore, it is anticipated that 98% of public transit buses in the United States will have wheelchair-accessible ramps in the coming years. As a result, the accessibility of supporting infrastructure and the advancement of products fuel market expansion in the region.
Asia-Pacific will likely grow at a CAGR of 11.7% and hold USD 2,302 million by 2030. In China, the healthcare sector is expanding quickly. The Chinese government is spending a lot on electric wheelchairs in public areas. Furthermore, according to data made public by the UN, South Korea will have one of the oldest populations in the world by 2050, with a share of the population 60 and older rising from 18.5% in 2015 to 31.4% in 2030 and 41.5% in 2050. The demand for electric wheelchairs will consequently increase nationally. Additionally, the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD), in collaboration with the governments of Thailand and Japan, works to empower and create a society free from barriers for people with disabilities by providing necessary resources at little or no cost, significantly aids in market expansion.
Asia-Pacific has significant growth potential for the electric wheelchair market because of the growing elderly and obese population and the purchasing power of powerful countries like China and Japan. Also, this industry has developed quickly due to the high utilization rate of these devices. Due to the rise in musculoskeletal injuries, different government measures to improve the healthcare system are also anticipated to favor market growth.