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Key Facts and Trends in the U.S. Instruments & Related Products Industry

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, April 19, 2024

Key Facts & Statistics on the U.S. Instruments & Related Products Sector

Businesses are finding new ways of leveraging data to create value, making capturing accurate data more important than ever. This trend contributes to the growth of the instruments and related products market, an industrial segment specializing in designing, producing, and distributing tools that test and measure a wide range of processes.

Here's what the future looks like for instruments manufacturers.

Key Facts on the U.S. Instruments and Related Products Market

Data compiled by MNI reveals a diverse industry where businesses tend to remain small but specialized.

With 11,045 companies and 754,470 employees in the industry, the average business size is fewer than 100 employees. Employment has gone up by 0.61% compared to 2023.

Average total sales add up to $856 billion, a number that illustrates the strong demand for specialized tools.

Imports and distribution trends show that the U.S. instruments and related products industry is more open to foreign markets than other industries. While 11% of all manufacturers rely on imports, this percentage increases to 17% for instruments and related products manufacturers. The market is also more diverse than average, with 57% of manufacturers relying on exports for distribution compared to 29% for all manufacturers.

Ownership numbers align with broad trends for the entire manufacturing sector, with women owning 2% of these businesses and minorities making up 1% of owners. Company structures are more varied, with 17% of businesses being publicly owned, compared to 5% for all manufacturers. This difference is likely due to the needs of the defense and aerospace industries for specialized tools.

Geographical distribution for instruments manufacturers in the U.S. is even, with 27% of these companies in the South, 25% in the Midwest, another 25% in the West, and 23% in the Northeast.

Instruments & Related Products: Subindustries

These subindustries are a non-exhaustive list of the many niches that comprise the U.S. instruments and related products industry.

Search & Navigation Equipment

Thanks to strong aerospace and defense-industry demand, search and navigation equipment manufacturers are a thriving subindustry. Examples of products include radar and sonar equipment, flight recorders, and HUD systems.

Measuring & Controlling Devices

This broad category refers to tools that measure and test a wide range of factors. These products can include meteorological instruments, drafting tools, fatigue testing systems, gauges, surveying equipment, and more.

Medical Instruments and Supplies

The healthcare industry needs specialized tools for surgery, lab testing, research, and more. While demand is strong, medical products manufacturers are facing a strict regulatory environment.

Ophthalmic Goods

The number of individuals in need of vision correction keeps going up. There is a growing market for manufacturers specializing in frames, contact lenses, sunglasses, and more.

Photographic Equipment

Photographic equipment manufacturers offer innovative solutions to service the explosion in online content creators and the ability that everyone has to capture and store unlimited images. There is also a strong market for the film industry and industrial customers looking for image-based testing solutions.

Watches, Clocks and Parts

This niche specializes in time-keeping devices, producing the movements and other minute parts used in watches, clocks, timers, and chronometers. There is a consumer-facing market, but many industrial processes also need precise time-keeping products.

Trends for the U.S. Instruments & Related Products Market

The following trends are shaping the industry and reflect what manufacturers should prioritize to unlock future growth.

Growing Demand

Experts are predicting a CAGR of 3.19% between 2024 and 2028 for the industrial products and services sector as a whole.

There is a link between this projected growth and automation. As more businesses look for ways to streamline processes and cut costs, the need for accurate sensors and other measuring instruments increases. Manufacturers able to deliver reliable products that reduce the need for human input will maintain their edge for the foreseeable future.

IoT and Connected Instruments

As automation becomes a priority for many businesses, the demand for smart devices that can record and share data with a more extensive system increases.

IoT is currently one of the most important technologies for the industrial sector. Manufacturers who can deliver connected features and support integration with digital systems will stand out.

Demand for products that can interact with AI and robotics will keep growing as more manufacturers leverage this technology to cut costs. Labor shortages are another trend pushing businesses to adopt automation and remote monitoring.


Cutting costs is a priority for many businesses. Measuring and testing systems that can grow over time and adapt to changing needs are in high demand. Rather than developing individual products, manufacturers can deliver more value by designing systems that integrate modular components based on the needs of each business.

For manufacturers, designing scalable systems often means offering hardware that can support software updates in the future. This approach requires an updated business model that emphasizes ongoing support and product development.

Compliance and Risk Management

More than half of businesses are looking into spending more on risk compliance. Many industries are facing tighter regulations, with rules that address cybersecurity, transparency, and quality. These rules are even stricter for businesses that deliver solutions for the public sector, such as the defense industry.

Manufacturers with a thorough understanding of the latest rules and their potential challenges can stand out by developing tools that help meet these requirements. Instruments and related products manufacturers are also adapting to meet stricter compliance requirements on their end.

Connect With Key Decision-Makers in the U.S. Instruments and Related Products Market

The instruments and related products industry is facing a promising future. If you're ready to connect with industry professionals to promote products and services that support the changing needs of this sector, IndustrySelect can help.

With detailed profiles for close to half a million U.S. manufacturers, identifying the most relevant prospects and developing a tailored approach has never been easier. See for yourself how our detailed profiles can make a difference with a free demo.


Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.

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