Bose Corp.’s entry into the market raises several concerns by putting pressure on prices, while shares in the world’s largest hearing aid makers plunged on Monday. Companies such as GN Store Nord A/S and William Demant Holding A/S, both based in Denmark, decreased roughly 13 percent each, while Sonova Holding AG of Switzerland dropped nearly 10 percent.
“Bose is a big name in the loud speaker segment and some may fear that this news can have an impact on the other companies in the industry,” Janne Vincent Kjaer, an analyst at Jyske Bank, told Bloomberg.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that Bose will be given permission to market, since hearing aids are a device that don’t require a prescription from a health care professional. The FDA is continuing to work towards new regulations for an over-the-counter category, which is expected in 2020. Consumer-electronic players with “significant marketing muscle” may also have an impact on the market if they enter, according to Lisa Bedell Clive, an analyst at Bernstein.
UBS analysts believe OTC hearing aids are doubtful to have a“meaningful impact” on the listed device makers. However, “re-emerging investor concerns over OTC aids could help continue to drive the recent under-performance in the names, ” according to a note.
Bose’s news trails another industry restructuring from earlier this year as Widex A/S of Denmark agreed to buy Sivantos Pte. Ltd. to hopefully form a new global No. 1 with a market share above 25 percent. Both, Sonova and WDH, have nearly 25 percent of the $5.5 billion global wholesale hearing-aid market, while GN nd closely held Starkey Laboratories Inc. complete the world’s top 5.
“It’s been a long time since new players have entered the industry,” Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet, said. “The existing companies have therefore had the playing field on their own for some time without ‘unwanted’ price competition.”