Expenditure on dental services is estimated to have been £7.02bn in 2020, down 31 per cent from £10.05bn in 2019. A significant 15 per cent increase in 2021 to £8.08m is forecast as the market looks set for a ‘U’ shaped recovery.
Despite the pandemic halting services during part of 2020, the dental market has shown resilience through 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, dental services expenditure had been increasing year-on-year, growing from £9.35bn in 2016 to £10.05bn in 2019, a cumulative annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum showcasing steady growth.
The split between private and public sector looks set to return to pre-pandemic levels – in 2018 the private sector spend totalled £6.2bn, compared to £3.9bn for the public sector. During 2020, the value of the dental market was split almost equally between public and private.
Ramesh Jassal, director and head of healthcare at Clearwater International, commented on this split, “Though the value mix in the dental market shifted towards the public sector in 2020, this does not appear to reflect a shift in demand but rather reflects the persistence of NHS funding during an economic crisis.”
Cosmetic dental treatments offer a strong growth opportunity for the private dental sector as a market which is still largely untapped and could generate significant additional revenues from existing customers.
As cosmetic dental products become increasingly more affordable and visible to customers, demand for these products is only likely to increase.
Ramesh continued, “Dental businesses like SmileDirectClub Inc have harnessed these trends, offering convenient, at-home teeth alignment products for comparatively low cost when compared with in practice solutions.”
Looking ahead, ageing populations and growth in cosmetic dentistry are likely to support growth in the dental market over the longer term. In the immediate future, growth will be driven by recovery to pre-covid levels of activity.