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The global clear aligner market was valued at US$3.98 billion in 2021. The market value is expected to reach US$13.13 billion by 2027. Clear aligners are orthodontic devices that are transparent, plastic forms of dental braces used to adjust teeth. Clear aligners are a new alternative to traditional metal braces. They’re made of clear, thin plastic that goes over the teeth and gradually shifts them into place.
The factors such as the growing patient population suffering from malocclusions, rising technological advancements in dental treatment, and escalating awareness about dental hygiene coupled with the growth of beauty standards are expected to drive the overall market growth in the forecasted period. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approx. 22% during the forecasted period of 2022-2027.
Market Segmentation Analysis:
By Procedure: The report provides the bifurcation of the market into two segments based on the procedure: Doctor-Directed and Direct-to-Consumer. In 2021, The doctor-directed procedure held the share of more than two-third in the market, whereas the direct-to-consumer is expected to be the fastest growing segment with a CAGR of around 24% in the forecasted period owing to the benefits such as ease of operation, affordable prices, and the convenience of having no mandatory in-office visits.
By Age Group: The report further provides the segmentation based on the age group: Adult and Teen. The adult segment held the highest share of around 70% in the market. The market's expansion is aided by the increasing awareness among adults regarding malocclusion and associated problems with this disease.
By End-User: The report provides an analysis of the market based on end-users: Standalone, Group Practices, Hospitals, and Other End-User. The standalone segment is expected to be the highest growing segment with a CAGR of approx. 23% in the forecasted period owing to the benefits such as a wider range of dental treatments, shorter wait times, specialist and quality service, and high adoption of the most recent technology and high-quality materials for both diagnostics and treatment.
By Treatment Cases: The report also provides a glimpse of clear aligner treatment cases. The number of treatment cases globally is expected to increase due to innovative headways coupled with the development of customized clear aligners, rising disposable incomes of the general population, etc. The treatment cases have been further analyzed based on regions: The US, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Rest of the World. In the US, the number of treatment cases is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8% during the forecasted year 2022-2027.
The number of treatment cases in the Chinese clear aligner market is projected to incline to 1.8 million cases in 2027.
By Region: The report provides insight into the clear aligner market based on the regions namely North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America held the major share of above 45% in the market, owing to the growing availability of advanced dental care infrastructure and the availability of robust payment options. Within North America, the US is leading the market with a share of above 80%. The US clear aligner market is further analyzed based on treatment cases, age group (Adult and Teen), and end-user (Standalone, Group Practices, Hospitals, and Others). Europe held a second highest share in the global clear aligner market. According to an article, The State of Oral Health in Europe published by the Platform for Better Oral Health, over 50% of the European population suffers from some form of periodontitis and over 10% have severe disease, with prevalence increasing to 70-85% of the population aged 60- 65 years of age. An increase in the incidence of periodontitis would support the growth of the clear aligner market in Europe.
Growth Drivers: The global clear aligner market has been growing over the past few years, due to factors such as rapid urbanization, increasing GNI per capita, increasing health spending, rising teenage population, escalating demand for aesthetics enhancement, increasing treatment rate, rising prevalence of dental malocclusion, and many other factors. The global malocclusion rate has been increasing over the past few decades, likely due to a change in diet habits (higher mix of delicate and soft food), the higher prevalence rate of dental decay, and higher adoption of bottle-feeding and lower breastfeeding rates. The rising prevalence of malocclusion cases is positively affecting the demand for the clear aligner and hence, boosting the market growth.
Challenges: However, the market growth would be negatively impacted by various challenges such as clear aligner restriction, undersupply of orthodontists and dentists, limited insurance coverage for orthodontic treatments, etc.
Trends: The market is projected to grow at a fast pace during the forecast period, due to various latest trends such as technological advancements, increasing involvement of private medical institutions, involvement of CAD/CAM technology, growing dental tourism, etc. In some countries, dental care is often not included in an affordable care act that was intended to make insurance cheap for nationals with lower incomes. Thus, people from developed countries are going for dental treatment to other countries such as Thailand and Mexico. Thus, the growing dental tourism is expected to stimulate the demand for clear aligners in the coming years.
Impact Analysis of COVID-19 and Way Forward:
In 2020, the global clear aligner sales have been weak and thus, the market declined in the initial period of the year 2020. However, as the countries reopened, the global clear aligner market witnessed the trend of a strong sales rebound. This is attributable to the gradual reopening of dental and orthodontists’ practices and patient volumes rebounding quickly. Moreover, orthodontists began to employ professional platforms for ‘‘tele-orthodontics’’ as a substitute for in-person regulation of their patients’ orthodontic treatment. Tele-orthodontics has increased the demand for clear aligners and this trend is expected to positively influence the market in the post-COVID era too.
The global clear aligner market is consolidated. The key players in the global clear aligner market are:
- Align Technology, Inc.
- Envista Holdings Corporation
- Dentsply Sirona Inc.
- Straumann Group
- Henry Schein, Inc.
- 3M Company
- Angelalign Technology, Inc.
- SmileDirectClub, Inc.
- Danaher Corporation
- Argen Corporation
- Scheu Dental GmbH
- Great Lakes Dental Technologies
Some of the strategies among key players in the market for clear aligners are product launches, mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations. For instance, in 2022, Henry Schein, Inc. announced the acquisition of Midway Dental Supply, a full-service dental distributor serving dental offices and dental laboratories across the Midwestern US. Whereas, in 2022, Align Technology, Inc. announced the official opening of first Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) regional manufacturing facility in Wroclaw, Poland. The state-of-the-art facility in Wroclaw, would serve as an operations site for Align’s EMEA business and be part of the global manufacturing of almost 1 million unique clear aligner parts per day. Moreover, In 2021, Align Technology was the major shareholder in the global clear aligner market with a share of more than 50%. Also, Align Technology was the major shareholder in China with more than 40% share in the market.