Different markets have showcased an impending global shortage of helium. Hence, healthcare facilities are compelled to switch to other alternatives such as nitrogen, hampering the market potential of helium gas. While the majority of helium is extracted during natural gas extraction, market players have stated the cost-related implications for isolating and storing helium. The helium shortage emerged in the market during late 2000s and has persisted ever since. As majority of current helium supply in the market is dependent on a handful of sources, depending on helium proves to be risky for end-users in the market.
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The pure gases segment dominated more than 56.4% of the medical gases market share in 2020 led by the growing demand for oxygen. As hospitals increase the number of ventilator beds, the demand for oxygen is estimated to expand in tandem with it. Further, significant growth noted by the development of ambulatory surgical units is another factor causing an upsurge in the demand for pure gases market.
The hospitals segment accounted for USD 8.5 billion in 2020. Hospitals have been the primary source of treatment globally and represent a sizeable proportion of healthcare facilities in virtually every country. Hospitals are also reported to perform majority of surgeries, thus, impelling the demand for medical gases. Medical gases are one of the basic requirements of a hospital, irrespective of its size. Hence as newer hospitals are established in remote areas, the demand for medical gases in the industry is expected to remain driven throughout the forecast period. As the existing healthcare facilities undergo upgradation, the existing demand for medical gases will also remain fuelled during the forecast timeline.
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North America medical gases market size was USD 4.9 billion in 2020 due to the relatively better quality of healthcare facilities in U.S. and Canada as well as the high surgery rates. The high hospital beds occupancy rate is also one of the contributing factors to the regional growth. According to the American Hospital Association, there were nearly 920,000 staffed beds in U.S. hospitals registering over 36 million admissions in 2019 alone. The high disease prevalence rate and an increasing geriatric population significantly impact the consumption of medical gases in the region. These factors contribute to the optimistic forecast outlook for the North America region.