The Recent Evolution of the Top Ten Instrument Suppliers

SDi has long since monitored the global analytical instrument market, publishing market segmentations and shares on the numerous technologies covered in the Global Assessment Report. As of 2018, it is interesting to note that the top ten suppliers in this market cover about half of total sales in the industry.

For SDi’s latest publication, Company Market Shares 2019: Competitive Profiles of Leading Instrument Suppliers, we explore the instrumentation market through the lens of the top suppliers rather than the technologies. The report presents a competitive analysis of 17 of the top suppliers in 2018, providing market share performance over the past five years for numerous lab technology categories.

With regard to the overall top ten list of leading lab instrument suppliers over the past several editions in our Global report, it may be of interest to those in the industry to observe how it has evolved over the past ten to fifteen years. While much of its evolution has depended on the fact that the sales of analytical instruments have had different growth rates, the most significant driver of changes in the top ten list over the years has actually been mergers & acquisitions.

Rank 2018 2015 2013 2011 2009 2007 2005
#1 Thermo Fisher Thermo Fisher Thermo Fisher Thermo Fisher Life Technologies Thermo Fisher Applied Biosystems
#2 Agilent Agilent Agilent Agilent Thermo Fisher Agilent Thermo Electron
#3 Danaher Danaher Danaher Life Technologies Agilent Applied Biosystems Agilent
#4 Illumina Illumina Life Technologies Danaher Waters Waters Waters
#5 Merck Waters Waters Waters Shimadzu PerkinElmer PerkinElmer
#6 Waters PerkinElmer Bruker Shimadzu PerkinElmer Shimadzu Shimadzu
#7 Shimadzu Bruker PerkinElmer Bruker Bruker GE Healthcare GE Healthcare
#8 PerkinElmer Shimadzu Shimadzu PerkinElmer GE Bruker Bruker
#9 Bruker QIAGEN Illumina Illumina Becton Dickinson Life Technologies Beckman Coulter
#10 Mettler-Toledo GE GE GE Sigma-Aldrich Becton Dickinson Varian

Thermo Fisher Scientific has held the #1 spot for nearly a decade, following its creation from the merger of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific in 2006, and the company’s acquisition of Life Technologies in 2014.

Agilent has maintained the #2 or #3 spot for over 10 years, as it is a leader in chromatography and mass spectrometry, which exists at the heart of the analytical instrumentation market. For similar reasons, Waters and Shimadzu have long hovered around the middle of the top ten list.

Danaher only emerged on the top ten list through a combination of key acquisitions: AB SCIEX and Molecular Devices in 2010, and Beckman Coulter in 2011.

Illumina has only been around since 1998, but its ascension into the top ten list is largely attributable to the phenomenal growth of next generation sequencing over the past decade.

Merck (now known as MilliporeSigma in the US & Canada) quickly became a top vendor in 2016 following its acquisition of Sigma Aldrich.

PerkinElmer has maintained a spot in the top ten list for over a decade thanks to its offerings in various analytical technologies such as GC, and molecular and atomic spectroscopy.

Bruker has maintained its position over the past decade largely through its command of the NMR market, as well as MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.

There are four suppliers generally found to be in close revenue proximity near the bottom of the list: Mettler Toledo, the largest supplier of lab balances; QIAGEN, a major provider of nucleic acid preparation techniques; GE Healthcare, a top supplier of electrophoresis, prep HPLC, and NA prep; and Becton Dickinson, the leader in flow cytometry.