The world's population is aging, leading to an increase in mobility-related health issues. As a result, more people require wheelchairs and mobility aids to maintain their independence and quality of life. Disability is a growing problem worldwide, and the number of people with disabilities is increasing due to factors such as accidents, chronic illnesses, and congenital conditions. As a result, there is a growing demand for wheelchairs to help people with disabilities maintain their mobility. The growing healthcare infrastructure in many developing countries is also contributing to the growth of the wheelchair market. As more people gain access to healthcare services, the demand for mobility aids such as wheelchairs is also increasing. Advancements in wheelchair technology have made them more comfortable, durable, and versatile. For example, the development of lightweight materials, advanced batteries, and specialized seating systems has made it easier for people to use wheelchairs for longer periods and with greater ease. Wheelchairs continue to be an important tool for individuals with mobility impairments. Advances in technology have led to lighter, more durable, and more customizable designs. There are many types of wheelchairs available to meet the needs of different users, including manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, sports wheelchairs, and standing wheelchairs. There are also many organizations and resources available to support wheelchair users and promote accessibility. Wheelchairs promote independence by enabling individuals to move about their environments without assistance. This independence can enhance quality of life, self-esteem, and self-confidence, and can reduce the burden on caregivers and family members.
According to the research report, “Global Wheelchairs Market Research Report, 2028”, the market is anticipated to reach over USD 9 Billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 6.08% from USD 6.10 Billion in 2022. The history of wheelchairs dates back thousands of years, but the modern wheelchair as we know it today has evolved significantly over the past few centuries. In ancient civilizations like China, Greece, and Egypt, records indicate that individuals with disabilities were carried or pushed on carts, litters, or chairs with wheels. These early forms of wheelchairs were often used by the wealthy and elite. In the 19th century, innovations in wheelchair design began to emerge. In 1869, a man named George Jennings received the first patent for a wheelchair, which had a collapsible design for easy storage and transport. Other inventors continued to improve upon Jennings' design, developing lighter, more manoeuvrable chairs made of materials like steel and aluminum. In the 20th century, wheelchair technology continued to advance rapidly. In 1912, a motorized wheelchair was invented, and by the 1930s, lightweight folding wheelchairs became widely available. Evolving technological advancements in wheelchair designs are a key trend expected to drive future sales for the market. The launch of battery-operated electric wheelchairs is expected to assist the users to a better extent. With the improvement in the design, the wheelchairs are now capable of storing and connecting the device with the patient’s medical history, and even monitoring the health of the users.
According to the report, the market is segmented into manual and electric or powered wheelchair. Among them, the electric segment held the largest wheelchair market share in the year 2022. The growing adoption of powered wheelchairs and advantages offered by them as compared to the manual wheelchairs would boost the growth of this segment. Powered wheelchairs can be controlled & operated with minimal efforts. An increase in the launch of powered wheelchairs by many key players is also expected to support the growth of the segment. For instance, in 2017, Invacare Corporation launched a TDX SP2 power wheelchair with LiNX technology and motion concepts ultra-low maxx positioning system. Thus, the introduction to highly advanced powered wheelchairs is likely to enhance mobility among the disabled people and will improve the quality of life of patients. On the other hand, manual wheelchairs can be easily operated and they do not require the need for any assistance. They are easily affordable and require less maintenance or care. The growing usage of these wheelchairs in both high and middle-income countries is likely to boost the demand for manual wheelchair during the forecast period.
The global wheelchair market is segmented into five major regions including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and Middle East & Africa. Among them, North America is leading the market with over 35% market share in 2022 and is expected to continue dominance by the end of the forecast period as well. The North America wheelchair market is one of the largest and most developed markets in the world, with a strong focus on innovation and technological advancements. The market is driven by several factors such as increasing healthcare expenditure, a growing aging population, rising awareness about mobility assistance devices, and advancements in wheelchair technology. Also, in North America, governments have implemented several initiatives to improve accessibility and support for people with disabilities. These initiatives include funding for assistive technology, accessibility standards for public spaces, and tax incentives for individuals and businesses that invest in accessibility. There are many companies who are actively focusing on developing and enhancing products across the North America region. In 2021, Pride Mobility Products launched the Jazzy Air 2, a power wheelchair that features a unique power elevating seat. The Jazzy Air 2 allows users to raise or lower their seat up to 12 inches, providing increased accessibility and independence. Also in the same year, Quantum Rehab launched the Edge 3 Stretto, a narrow power wheelchair that is designed to navigate tight spaces with ease. It features advanced suspension technology and a customizable seating system for maximum comfort and support.
Based on countries, United States is leading the market in 2022 followed by China. The US is the largest regional market for the powered and manual mobility market is projected to grow exponentially due to aging baby boomers and increasing longevity. About 10 percent have a physical disability or a kind of mobility impairment. Well over 3 million Americans use a wheelchair or an electric wheelchair full-time. Also, over 25% of US adults live with a disability. As the prevalence of disabilities increases, so does the demand for mobility assistance devices such as wheelchairs. Many insurance plans in the US cover the cost of a wheelchair or provide financial assistance, making it easier for people to access these devices. On the other hand, China has a rapidly aging population; with the number of people aged 65 and older expected to reach over 480 million by 2050. As people age, they may experience mobility challenges due to age-related conditions, injuries, or illnesses, and a wheelchair can help them maintain their independence and quality of life. With a population of over 1.4 billion, China has a large number of people with disabilities. China has been investing heavily in its healthcare infrastructure in recent years, with a focus on improving access to healthcare services and medical devices. This has created more opportunities for companies to sell and distribute wheelchairs in the Chinese market.
In Europe, increasing improvements in wheelchair technology, as well as increased awareness of these advanced products, are expected to drive market expansion throughout the forecast period. In addition, the market is further predicted to grow due to an increasing number of product releases by manufacturers and favourable reimbursement policies over the forecast period. During the forecast period, the rapid increase in the number of spinal cord injuries among the elderly is expected to fuel market sales at a significant rate. During the forecast period, demand for wheelchairs is also predicted to rise due to an increase in the prevalence of walking difficulties among all age groups and an increase in the incidence of lower extremity injury. However, the high expense of an electric wheelchair, as well as a lack of awareness and infrastructure, makes it difficult to adopt one. Supply chain disruptions, protracted lockdowns, and cancellation of other medical operations are expected to hamper the European wheelchair market's growth. Many European governments provide financial support to people with disabilities, including those who need wheelchairs. This has made it easier for people to afford wheelchairs and has contributed to the growth of the market.
In some countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, there is a shortage of wheelchairs and other mobility aids. This can make it difficult for people with disabilities to access public spaces and healthcare services. In Japan, a company called WHILL has developed a high-tech wheelchair that can be controlled using a smartphone app. The wheelchair can also automatically adjust its speed and direction based on the user's surroundings. In Australia, a wheelchair rugby team called the "Steelers" has won three Paralympic gold medals and three world championships. In India, a group of engineers have developed a wheelchair that can climb stairs. The wheelchair uses a set of wheels that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing it to manoeuvre up and down stairs with ease. In South Korea, a group of researchers have developed a robotic exoskeleton that can be attached to a wheelchair to help people with mobility impairments stand up and walk. The exoskeleton uses sensors and motors to detect and amplify the user's movements. In China, a group of engineers have developed a "smart wheelchair" that can be controlled using brain signals. The wheelchair uses a headset that detects the user's brainwaves and translates them into commands for the wheelchair.
The adult segment dominated the market and accounted for the largest revenue share in 2022. The segment is projected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. This is mainly due to the increasing elderly population globally, which forms part of the definition for adults. Adults comprise individuals from the age group of 18 onwards. Disability in older people due to arthritis pain, or stiffness in a knee, hip, ankle, or foot increases the demand for wheelchairs. The paediatric segment is also expected to grow significantly owing to the growing number of childhood disorders such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common movement disorders that require wheelchairs. It is the most commonly diagnosed movement disability in childhood in the U.S. Thus, the paediatric segment is expected to be a key revenue generator for wheelchair manufacturers in the coming years. On the other hand, the rehabilitation centers segment dominated the market and accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 30% in 2022. However, the segment will witness sluggish growth over the forecast period. Based on application, the global market has been divided into homecare, hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs), and rehabilitation centers. The hospital's segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR from 2023 to 2030.
Many countries in South America lack proper infrastructure and accessibility for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps, elevators, and accessible public transportation. This has led to an increased need for mobility aids such as wheelchairs to help people with disabilities move around. Access to healthcare has improved in many parts of South America, which has led to earlier diagnosis and treatment of disabilities, including mobility impairments that require the use of wheelchairs. There is a growing awareness of the needs of people with disabilities in South America, and this has led to a greater demand for mobility aids such as wheelchairs. On the other hand, Middle East & Africa has been affected by numerous conflicts and wars, which have led to an increase in disabilities, including mobility impairments that require the use of wheelchairs. Countries in MEA lack proper infrastructure and accessibility for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps, elevators, and accessible public transportation. This has led to an increased need for mobility aids such as wheelchairs to help people with disabilities move around.