Impact of currency changes on medical device sales and profitability

Read our survye on the impact of currency changes on medical device sales and profitabilityPublished September 1, 2015 - Starting about one year ago, the US Dollar began to strengthen in value compared to the Euro and other currencies. For American companies exporting to Europe, this was not a good trend. By early 2015, American devices were 25% more expensive to European buyers than they were six months earlier. Conversely, European exporters suddenly found their devices to be more price competitive with US made products.

However, as with everything in our complex interconnected economy, the winners and losers are not as clear as it may seem. Overall, most medical device companies surveyed worldwide – even European companies - say that currency fluctuations have negatively impacted their sales/turnover and profitability. Small and large companies alike have adjusted to the “new normal” by making changes to pricing. That, in turn, affects profitability as our survey shows.

Nonetheless, exchange rates, like the wind, will inevitably change direction. How long from now and which direction they will go is anyone's guess.

Download the .pdf here.


Currency exchange rate charts for last 2 years

To get a sense of how much your currency has changed in relation to other currencies, see a graph of these historical exchange rates for the previous two years. Here are some common currency combinations. 

Plus many additional currency pairings here.


Exchange rate impact on export sales/turnover

When the exchange rate changes, there are always winners and losers. Let's examine the results.

During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your EXPORT SALES/TURNOVER?

Results shown for all device executives worldwide

More than 59% of the medical device executives we surveyed noted that the changing exchange rate has had a 'Somewhat Negative' or 'Very Negative' impact on their sales/turnover

Globally, more than 59% of the medical device executives we surveyed noted that the changing exchange rate has had a “Somewhat Negative” or “Very Negative” impact on their sales/turnover. Only 23% said it was having a positive impact.

Not surprisingly, the results of this question varied based on the location of the company as the following graphs will show.

Based on 262 responses


During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your EXPORT SALES/TURNOVER?

Results shown for US executives only

More than 78% of American companies say the currency situation has hurt their export business, with a scant 7% saying the impact has been positive.

Conversely, more than 60% of survey respondents from China and Japan say the currency shift has had a positive impact on their export business.

Based on 88 responses.


During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your EXPORT SALES/TURNOVER?

Results shown for European executives only

We anticipated that most European companies would celebrate a stronger US Dollar, but the results surprised us. Roughly 59% of European device executives noted that the changing exchange rate has had a negative impact on their sales/turnover. Swiss and UK based companies (not on the Euro) reported especially “negative” scores more in line with American companies, and certainly different than their European counterparts.

Based on 71 responses.

Exchange rate impact on profitability

Fluctuating currencies impact sales/turnover over time but have an immediate impact on profitability. We examine who has benefitted from currency shifts.


During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your PROFITABILITY?

Results shown for all device executives worldwide

Impact of the change in the currency exchange rate on company profitability as reported worldwide.

The impact of changing exchange rates on profitability is felt quickly by companies. Many public device companies have stated in their 2015 quarterly reports that currency shifts were a having significant ongoing negative affect on their bottom line financial results.

Interestingly, once you remove US and European companies from the mix, more than 37% of the 85 companies replying say the situation has been positive for their company, with only 50% indicating it has been negative.

Based on 256 responses.


During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your PROFITABILITY?

Results shown for US executives only

Impact of the change in the currency exchange rate on company profitability as reported by US executives

Due to the strength of the US Dollar, the impact of changing currencies is felt more acutely by American companies, especially considering the relative change in the US Dollar to the Euro since Q4 2014.

As the chart shows, US-based companies are finding it far more difficult to make money than their European colleagues.

Interesting, if we had excluded UK and Swiss companies, the overall “Negative” rating would have dropped to 46%.

Based on 88 responses.


During 2015, what impact has the change in the currency exchange rate had on your PROFITABILITY?

Results shown for European executives only

Impact of the change in the currency exchange rate on company profitability as reported by European executives

This chart shows the results for all European companies, including those in the UK and Switzerland. However, the numbers change when you exclude these two countries which use the British Pound and Swiss Franc. More than 80% of respondents from those two countries reported “Negative” impacts on profitability. Just 4% reported a “positive” impact.

Based on 71 responses.

Changes to pricing and market strategy

We wanted to know whether medical device executives were planning (or able) to change their pricing or market strategy in response to currency exchange rate fluctuations.


During 2015, have you made (or plan to make) any PRICING changes as a direct result of currency exchange rates?

During 2015 id d you make (or do you plan to make) PRICING changes as a direct result of currency exchange rates?

Globally, executives were evenly split on how they planned to handle pricing changes. We sorted the data by location and company size and found no major differences in how companies are dealing with this issue.

Based on 256 responses


Will you make any changes to your MARKET STRATEGY in 2015 due to currency exchange rates?

Given the long timeframe for gaining regulatory approval in many markets, and the fickle nature of changing exchange rates, it is not surprising that many companies do not plan to make rash changes in response. Only 10% of American companies plan to accelerate their entry into new markets (likely to make up for lost revenue), but 24% of European companies (excluding UK and Switzerland) plan to seize the opportunity to increase their exports.


Who completed this survey


Location of respondent

Respondents to this survey and their locations

The respondents to our global currency survey represent a broad cross section of medical device and IVD operations and sales/marketing executives worldwide.

Based on 245 respondents


How many people work for your company worldwide?

Respondents to our global currency survey also represent all sizes of companies, from very small companies to large multinationals.

All executives that participated export their devices to one or more markets.

Based on 243 respondents


Survey methodology

This survey was emailed to an in-house list of medical device executives maintained by Emergo.

Respondents were located worldwide, but only companies currently exporting their devices were allowed to participate.

In addition, we only invited C-level executives and Sales/Marketing/Exporting management to complete this survey.

We realize that this survey was not conducted in a scientific manner, and because the numbers are fairly small, there is a higher margin for error in the results. You should interpret the results with this in mind. Nonetheless we feel the data yield important general insight into how this issue is affecting medical device companies worldwide.

We welcome your feedback or questions.

For more information...
Chris Schorre
VP, Global Marketing
Austin, Texas USA
marketing@emergogroup.com