Nevertheless, the market was characterized by a spate of product launches by major vendors in 2009.
Customization is highly prevalent in this high-end market, with companies increasingly introducing solutions that enable engineers to customize and perform advanced analysis of analogue and mixed signals.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (testandmeasurement.frost.com), World Oscilloscopes Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $1,152.3 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach only $1,372.1 million in 2014.
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"Product introductions have been one of the key strategies adopted by vendors to sustain growth in this competitive market," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Prathima Bommakanti. "Vendors consistently reinvested in R&D to keep pace with end users' technological advancements, introducing high-end solutions in 2009 and 2010."
Digital and software-driven oscilloscopes pose a growing threat to analogue oscilloscopes. Their increasing ease-of-use, paralleled by advances in bandwidth and sampling rates, together with a reduction in prices and superior performance specifications mean that digital and software-driven oscilloscopes have the potential to replace analogue equivalents in a wide number of applications.
"Although the technologies related to oscilloscopes are well established, efforts are still being made to enhance and launch novel products," comments Bommakanti. "Most suppliers maintain ongoing programs of research and development to remain competitive."
However, the slowdown of the global economy restricted the capital availability for expansion of production facilities across most end-user segments. Electronic manufacturing, industrial and automotive and communications end users that contributed a significant percentage of revenues to the oscilloscopes market were the worst affected.
"The drop in demand from end users either stalled or postponed a significant number of product sales," remarks Bommakanti. "This reduced the demand for oscilloscopes to unprecedented low levels."
Meanwhile, the maturity of the market has provided limited opportunities for manufacturers to upgrade or launch new products, thereby increasing price pressure on them from end users and competitors. This trend has mainly been witnessed in the low-end and mid-range of the market.
"During 2009, the global economic conditions created substantial pricing pressures on vendors, reducing their profit margins and revenue growth," explains Bommakanti. "With the competitive landscape and maturity of the market remaining the same, the impact of this restraint is anticipated to be high over the short term."
With the rising need for higher bandwidth, test vendors are incorporating advanced test feature sets to accommodate future demand and are offering flexible solutions. At the same time, due to the growing complexity of oscilloscopes, vendors are bundling additional services with their products for customers.
"Additional services such as warranty, installation, technical support, maintenance and general service agreements are progressively becoming a part of the package being offered to customers," concludes Bommakanti. "This is enabling manufacturers to differentiate themselves from their competitors and allowing premium pricing."
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World Oscilloscopes Market / M614