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The global clear aligners market size was USD 2.41 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with clear aligners witnessing a negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a lower growth of 4.4% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 2.85 billion in 2021 to USD 10.04 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 19.7% during the 2021-2028 period. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
Clear aligners refer to the nearly invisible and advanced products utilized for the correction of mild to moderate orthodontic problems. They aid in teeth alignment with the aid of transparent aligners. The prevalence of malocclusion is surging at a significant rate. According to Align Technology Inc., a leading player in this market, about 60% - 75% of the global population suffers from malocclusion (misaligned teeth). In North America, 40% of children are estimated to suffer from malocclusion, and more than three out of five teenagers have severe tooth displacement.
The growing demand for aesthetics and surge in demand for clear braces in orthodontic treatment is likely to fuel the clear aligners market growth during the forecast period. Significant technological advancement, improvement in per capita spending, the betterment of economic indicators, and increased penetration by key companies in the developing regions are contributing to the market's growth rate.
Developed countries are seeing huge growth in adults seeking orthodontic treatment, which is mainly driven by the availability of products such as clear aligners and lingual braces. Although most of the adults seeking treatment are women, there has been a rise in men opting for correcting their misalignment of teeth as well.
Furthermore, key players' growing competition for advanced product launches for scanning and 3D printing is anticipated to boost the market during the forecast period. For instance, in April 2018, Align Technology, Inc. launched Go Clear Aligners System, integrated with ITERO SCANNER. It is developed to provide greater flexibility in the treatment of many conditions, including crowded or gap teeth.
Market to Witness a Limited Negative Impact Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The novel coronavirus disease was first detected in 2019 and posed a major health challenge across the globe. A couple of months after its detection in China, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak were felt across the globe. Several countries' suspension of elective procedures and closure of dental practices due to the lockdown restrictions have impacted the dental industry significantly. Initially, in China & Italy, and now in most countries, the outbreak resulted in a national lockdown and stay-at-home orders having a major impact on elective procedures.
For instance, in the initial months of the pandemic, elective surgeries were hit hard in China and Italy and were estimated to have fallen by 85.0% to 90.0%. Moreover, similar impacts in the U.S. and other European countries were also witnessed. In May 2020, the average monthly treatment volume in the UK had declined by more than 95% as compared to pre-pandemic levels.
However, as the countries across the world are re-opening, the global market has witnessed the trend of a strong sales rebound. This is attributable to the gradual reopening of dental and orthodontists’ practices worldwide and patient volumes rebounding quickly. Other factors that have assisted in maintaining the demand for clear aligners are digital tools and teledentistry assisting physicians to continue providing orthodontic care; the ‘zoom effect’ with people getting conscious about their misaligned teeth due to the frequent video calls and adults have taken up the treatment more confidently with their teeth hidden behind masks. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to exert a limited negative impact on the growth of the market.
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Unmet Needs of Patient Population to Augment the Market Growth
The prevalence of dental malocclusion and misalignment is increasing at a significant rate. However, issues with the accessibility of orthodontic services and significant treatment costs have created a huge gap resulting in high unmet patient needs. The index of treatment needed for dental malocclusion is increasing, which, for all classes of dental occlusion among teenagers, ranges from 25%-35% in various European countries, according to an article published in the European Journal of Pediatric Dentistry.
Many health reforms are being implemented to address the unmet needs of the patient population. Many companies and public institutions, such as government agencies, have undertaken initiatives to fill the gaps in orthodontic treatment through partnerships and policies. For instance, in April 2019, CVS Health collaborated with SmileDirectClub to expand access to convenient and affordable aligner therapy to all. As a result of this collaboration, the launching of SmileShops by SmileDirectClub is planned across various CVS Pharmacy locations. Thereby expanding the company’s geographical presence and patient access. This is projected to propel the global market during the forecast period.
Better Treatment Outcomes and Strong Competitive Activity to Fuel Demand
The global market is experiencing significant levels of activities in the forms of acquisitions, partnerships, training of new doctors, and technological developments. These are expected to drive the growth of the market. Over the past few years, major dental product companies have entered this lucrative market through acquisitions and new product introductions. For instance, Straumann acquired ClearCorrect LLC in 2017, whereas Dentsply Sirona acquired OraMetrix in 2018.
Companies are focusing on developing new products and enhancing the current product offerings through a strong focus on R&D. There is a continuous effort to make the products more comfortable, hygienic and bring improvements in the 3-D modeling software to design these products based on the patient’s specific requirements. The market players are also increasing the awareness about the product's benefits among orthodontics, dentists, and GPs through training. For instance, in 2018, according to a research article published by Progress in Orthodontics, around 45.0% of the general dentists providing orthodontic treatment offered clear aligners versus only 19.0%, who provided brackets.
The other critical driver is the favorable treatment outcomes as these products offer numerous benefits over metal braces in treating malocclusion. Some of the advantages include appearance, convenience, comfort, and greater ability to customize. For instance, the introduction of these aligners has been the biggest boost for the growth of the number of orthodontic procedures. In the United States, the number of patients straightening their teeth have increased from around 0.8 million (adults only) in 1994 to around 4 million (adults and teen) in 2018. Such factors are expected to drive the market in the forthcoming years.
Considerably Under-penetrated Market to Boost Adoption of Clear Aligners
According to the data published by Align Technology, Inc. in 2018, an estimated 60% of the worldwide population suffers from the problems of malocclusion or misalignment of teeth, and around 300 million people could benefit from straightening their teeth. Factors such as very low awareness about the adverse effects of malocclusion and the general negligence towards dental care have resulted in a deficient proportion of the population seeking treatment for straightening their teeth.
This market is grossly underpenetrated, with the majority of orthodontic cases treated with conventional braces. Globally, around 10-12 million people seek orthodontic treatment every year, but the penetration of clear aligners is significantly low. In North America, less than 20% of orthodontic cases treated annually receive clear aligners, whereas the penetration outside North America is less than 10%. This offers a significant opportunity to expand the market as companies focus on educating patients about the benefits of treating malocclusion and train more physicians to offer treatment and promote the adoption of these products.
Increased Competition from Direct-to-consumer Companies to Hinder Market Growth
Despite the increasing adoption of these products globally, some strong limiting factors are responsible for restraining the market. For instance, many clear aligner companies that operate on a direct-to-consumer business model have come up in the current scenario. In the direct-to-consumer model, patients are not necessitated to see the doctor. Dental impressions of the patients are both taken at home or the company stores and reviewed by remote orthodontists, and the products are sent to the patient by mail. This is expected to limit the market growth strongly.
For instance, the cost of direct-to-consumer products is considerably lower than the B2B model, followed by the key market players. The cost of direct-to-consumer clear aligners varies in the range of USD 1,800-4,000, while the cost of treatment with these products from companies such as Align Technology can be in the USD 3,000-8,000 range. SmileDirectClub, a company operating in the space of direct-to-consumer business, generated USD 750.4 million in terms of revenues in 2019. It refers to a 77.3% increase from 2018. This is a prime example of the growing demand for direct-to-consumer products, which might adversely impact the market as the products will be sold through the B2B channel during the forecast period.
Low Awareness about the Effects of Malocclusion May Hinder Growth
Although around 60% of the global population suffers from misalignment of teeth, a large proportion of the population, especially in developing countries, is not aware of the effects of this condition. This is especially due to the low awareness about the importance of general oral care among the population.
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Adults Segment to Grow at Faster Pace
Based on the patient age group, the global market can be segmented into teenagers and adults.
Out of the two, the adult segment held the dominant share of the global market in 2020 due to the surge in the adoption of these technologically advanced products as a means of treatment. Moreover, an increased prevalence of malocclusion in patients belonging to the adult age group is expected to favor segmental growth. The increasing aesthetic needs of adults are also a contributing reason for the segment’s dominance.
The teenager segment is anticipated to expand at a comparatively higher CAGR during the forecast period. This is due to the rising aesthetic needs and the invisible nature of these product offerings compared to traditional braces and wires.
Higher Procedural Volume at Dental & Orthodontic Clinics to Enable Dominance of Segment
On the basis of end-user, the market can be segmented into hospitals and dental & orthodontic clinics.
The dental & orthodontic clinics segment dominated the global market during the forecast period. This is primarily due to the high preference given to orthodontists and the other trained dental practitioners owing to their strong skills. Furthermore, the rising number of training sessions undertaken at these settings by prominent companies to enhance awareness is expected to lead to this segment’s dominance. The availability of highly skilled dentists would also contribute to the growth of this segment.
Earlier, the usage of these products was conformed only to the orthodontists. But, with increased accessibility of these product offerings to other medical practitioners, such as general practitioners, the segment is likely to grow astonishingly.
The hospitals segment is anticipated to account for a lower market share in the forecast period.
North America Clear Aligners Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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On the basis of region, the global market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world.
The market in North America stood at USD 1.41 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to continue to dominate the global market during the forecast period. Some of the critical factors contributing to the region’s dominance include the presence of major companies in the region, such as Align Technology, and the increasing R&D investments by these key players. Other contributing factors include the strong adoption of technologically advanced products by individuals in the region.
Furthermore, strong demand for invisible orthodontics due to the increased awareness associated with these products in the region will surge the market growth in North America during the forecast period. Increased demand for these products from the orthodontists, the surge in the clientele of general practitioners (GPs), favorable reimbursement policies for dentistry, and the presence of well-established clinics for orthodontics are other factors likely to drive the market growth in the region. Globally, U.S. is the largest market for clear aligners, followed by China and Spain.
Europe is estimated to be the second-most dominant region in terms of clear aligners market share. This is due to the increased awareness regarding the technological sophistication of these products for treating misaligned teeth and the rising adoption of these products by teenagers in the region.
The market in Asia Pacific is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR, especially in developing countries such as India and China. For instance, Align Technologies Inc., a prominent company in the global market, noted that the sales volume of their product offerings experienced strong growth trends in Asia Pacific in 2018. The company predicts that the aesthetical application offered by these products is likely to boost the demand in the adult segment.
The Rest of the World is expected to account for a limited market revenue share during the forecast period. However, improvement in healthcare expenditure in Latin America and the Middle East & Africa is expected to lead to future growth prospects.
Align Technology’s Stellar Sales Performance to Lead to Market Dominance
In terms of the global market's competitive landscape, the scenario reflects a consolidated market with the dominance of a single company, Align Technology, Inc. The company is the dominant market player in the global market and will continue to hold the lion’s share of the market during the forecast period. This growth is attributable to the strong and sustained demand of its key product portfolio of Invisalign, the only clear aligner used in the treatment of several complex dental cases such as adults and teenagers suffering from immature dentition.
Other market players with a significant presence in the global market include 3M, Institute Straumann AG, 3Shape A/S, Dentsply Sirona, Angelalign, and Henry Schein, Inc. Angelalign is the largest player in the China market, followed by Align Technology. These companies are anticipated to increase their market share during the forecast period due to critical strategic executions. Examples of strategic executions include Institut Straumann’s acquisition of ClearCorrect LLC.
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The global market report provides detailed market analysis by type and focuses on key aspects such as an overview of the technological advancements, the prevalence of dental malocclusion and key countries, pricing analysis. Additionally, it includes an overview of reimbursement scenarios for orthodontics treatment, key industry developments such as mergers, partnerships, & acquisitions, the impact of COVID-19 on the market, and brand analysis. Besides these, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years. The report also covers regional analysis of different segments.
Value (USD Billion)
By Patient Age Group, End-User, and Geography
By Patient Age Group
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 2.41 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 10.04 billion by 2028.
In 2020, the North American market size stood at USD 1.41 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 19.7%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).
The adult segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The benefits of these aligners over traditional metal braces, the launch of technologically advanced products, and the increasing focus on developing advanced dental aesthetics are major factors driving the growth of the market.
Align Technology, Inc. and Institut Straumann AG are some of the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market in 2020.
The increasing demand for orthodontic treatment, growing adoption of these products across all age groups, and a considerably under-penetrated market are expected to drive the adoption of the products.
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