Product sentiment softens for Q2

Product sentiment softens for Q2

But vaccines, diagnostics show strong demand compared to 2004
Jul 01, 2005

ST. LOUIS — Demand for equine products are expected to taper a bit in this year's second quarter compared to the first quarter. Veterinarians cite macroeconomics, patient numbers and customer initiatives as the main influencers of market fluxuations. But in some cases, the same influencers are driving demand, too.

Product demand tapers, but prices stay strong
Although demand for vaccines and diagnostics is expected to soften slightly compared to the first quarter, sentiment surveys for anti-inflammatory products, hypodermic needles, injected and oral antibiotics, corticoids and fertility products remain positive, according to Corey Grass, president of C.F. Grass Consulting, which issues quarterly metrics for product prices and demand based on veterinarians' sentiments about the forthcoming quarter.

"Demand had peaked in 4Q04 and has been softening each quarter since," Grass says in the report. "This is primarily a result of fewer reports of new-product use and growing concerns over Internet/OTC (over the counter) sales."

The index measures anticipated changes in product use compared to previous-year levels. Any category with an index score more than 100 indicates rising demand compared to the same time period last year. An index less than 100 indicates a lower demand compared to the same time period last year.

Overall, the demand index was expected to slip to 114.7 from 132.1 in the first quarter. Though sentiment has softened from last quarter, demand is strong compared to the same period last year.

Twenty-two of the 24 product categories tracked by the report are above 100, indicating stronger demand compared to the second quarter of 2004. Intended use of euthanasia preparations are below last year's sentiments, and intended use of surgical instruments are unchanged.

Price push Veterinarians might be charging slightly more for some products and procedures to compensate for retreating demand.

"The most widespread price increases have occurred among equine vaccines and diagnostic tests and services," Grass says. "These two categories have the highest demand indices this quarter, but demand in each category has cooled after experiencing the most widespread price hikes."

Veterinarians indicated that they will charge more for vaccines, hypodermic needles, topical and injectable antibiotics, X-ray supplies, bandages and euthanasia preparations compared to Q1. Diagnostic services and analgesics dipped slightly but still enjoy strong prices due to healthy price hikes during the previous two quarters.

Practitioners indicated their prices will taper slightly for sedatives, tranquilizers, corticoids, fertility hormones and drugs.

Methodology: The average sample size per quarter for this report is 76 practitioners. The mean number of horses under supervision per equine veterinarian is 1,292. Data collection period was March 2005.