There is a huge potential for sales growth in the Japanese dental implant market, driven primarily by demographic changes, increased clinician penetration, and growing patient awareness. Japan’s elderly population, aged 65 and over, is increasing as a percentage of the total population, from 17.2% in 2001 to 19.9% by 2006. As the population ages and the benefits of implant treatment gains greater public awareness, more implant procedures will be performed. In 2001, over 67,000 dental implant procedures were performed in Japan.
In 2001, 18% of general dentists in Japan performed dental implant procedures. To keep up with the increasing demand for implant placements, existing dentists will need to increase their caseload or more dentists will be required to place implants. Manufacturers aim to increase the awareness of implantology amongst general dentists by offering more training courses. As such, implant procedures will increase driven by the cumulative effects of increased training courses and the increasing numbers of implants required by the aging population.
Patient awareness is an important issue that manufacturers must address to increase dental implant sales in Japan. Many manufacturers concede that patient-targeted marketing has been under-utilized in the past. Traditionally, the majority of dental implant marketing has been targeted toward general dentists. However, companies are beginning to realize that patients’ aesthetic concerns are a key driver of dental implant sales. As a result, it will become imperative that those dental implant companies seeking to be competitive in the Japanese market begin to direct more of their marketing efforts toward patients.
In 2001, the Japanese dental implant market was valued at $38.5 million, a 13.4% increase over 2000. By 2006, this market is expected to generate revenues of $61.0 million, representing a 9.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2002 to 2006. In addition, the 2001 Japanese market for dental products, which includes dental implants, abutments, and machinery, was valued at $69.6 million, a 12.3% increase over 2000. This market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.0% from 2002 to 2006.
Segmentation by Shape
The Japanese dental implant market can be segmented by a number of characteristics including shape, coating, and delivery method. On the basis of shape, parallel wall threaded screw implants are the most common. Tapered threaded screw implants are slowly gaining popularity as they can be used to treat patients with convergent roots. Unlike other parts of the world, the market for tapered threaded implants is growing slowly and will only represent 5.0% of all dental implants sold in Japan in 2006. Tapered threaded implants are the newest form of implants and dentists have expressed concerns about using them because they lack long-term supporting data. Hence, the slow rate of acceptance of tapered threaded implants is due to dentists’ reluctance to adopt using this newer system. Sales of cylindrical press-fit implants in Japan are decreasing because of the longer healing times associated with them. Given the ever-increasing demand for implants that offer shorter healing times, cylindrical press-fit implants will lose market share over the forecast period. Exhibit ES-1 displays unit sales in the Japanese dental implant market segmented by shape, from 2000 to 2006 (Fig. 1).
Segmentation by Coating
When segmenting by coating, three categories exist: hydroxyapatite-coated (HA), titanium plasma spray (TPS) coated, traditional-machined, and non-coated implants. The majority of implants on the Japanese market use TPS coating. Unlike the situation in the U.S., where non-coated and HA implants comprise over 75% of the dental implant market, many of the large manufacturers in Japan still sell TPS implants. Unlike their U.S. colleagues, Japanese dentists are content with older TPS implants; they are impressed by the long-term clinical data supporting TPS implants and await similar studies before adopting newer systems. Non-coated implants, including acid-etched and roughened textured implants, are slowly gaining popularity. These implants represented 18.0% of all dental implants sold in Japan in 2001. Non-coated implants provide increased surface area, which in turn reduces the healing time required. As a result, the number of non-coated implants sold in Japan is expected to increase at a CAGR of 21.0% from 2002 to 2006. Exhibit ES-2 displays unit volumes sales in the Japan dental implant market by coating (Fig. 2).
Segmentation by Delivery
The final segmentation considered in Millennium Research Group’s Japanese Market for Dental Implants report concerns delivery method, of which one-stage and immediate load implants are of great interest to implant manufacturers. The acceptance of these systems is much higher in Japan than in the U.S. Sales of one-stage dental implants accounted for 23% of the total U.S. market in 2001, compared to 34% of the total Japanese market. The popularity of one-stage implants is attributed to the success of Straumann’s ITI system in Japan. Dentists are trained using the ITI system in a university and are impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of this implant system. On the other hand, sales of immediate loading implants are not growing as rapidly in Japan as in other parts of the world. The acceptance of immediate loading implants was high in 2001 due to the rapid acceptance of this new timesaving technology by newly trained dentists. However, the lack of sufficient long-term data supporting its use has led to slow growth over the forecast period. Exhibit ES-3 compares the sales of immediate loading dental implants in the Japanese, U.S., and European dental implant markets (Fig. 3).
Courtesy of Millennium Research Group, 151 Bloor Street West, Suite 480, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1S4, Fax: 416–364– 8246.