$34 Billion Physical Therapy Industry Recovers from 16% Revenue Decline During Pandemic

Young physiotherapist exercising with elder disabled personDemand for physical therapy services is growing, for several reasons: an aging American population, rising obesity levels, consumers seeking alternatives to opioids for pain management, and the cost savings and effectiveness of outpatient rehab.

This is a fragmented but growing $34 billion per year industry of small physical therapy clinics, and a few large chains. Throughout the pandemic, physical therapy services have been treated as essential by federal, state, and local guidance, although many physical therapists proactively stopped nonessential in-person care. Physical therapy clinics that stayed open during the early stages of the pandemic had fewer consumers walking through their doors. Clinics pivoted to telehealth/video visits, but patient volumes remained low in 2020.

Here are some things to know about this healthcare sector:

  • Physical therapy market size: Marketdata estimates that the U.S. physical and occupational therapy industry was worth $34.2 billion in 2021, up 12.6% from 2020. Revenues dipped 16% to $30.4 billion during the pandemic in 2020. The market is forecast to grow at a 6.2% average annual pace, to $43 billion by 2025.
  • Number of physical therapy clinics: There are an estimated 42,300 clinics providing physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and audiology. Average annual receipts per clinic are $855,000, with a net profit margin of 14%.
  • Number of clinicians: The industry employs 417,000 workers, and the average physical therapist earns $91,000/year. Two-thirds of physical therapists are female.
  • Pivot to virtual care: Video-based care was being provided by just 2% of physical therapists prior to the pandemic, but one year later nearly half were providing some form of telehealth.
  • Market share: This industry has been consolidating for years, yet private practice remains very fragmented. The 50 largest companies—two public operators and private equity-backed operations—captured just 29 percent of the industry’s market share. The potential for “roll-ups” is high.
  • Large physical therapy chains: Four competitors, large chains: Select Medical, ATI Physical Therapy, U.S. Physical Therapy, and Athletico Physical Therapy, had combined revenues of $3 billion in 2021.

Where to Learn More

To find out more about the physical therapy industry, be sure to check out a new report by Marketdata titled U.S. Physical Therapy Clinics: An Industry Analysis.

This 86-page report provides key information on the following:

  • Nature & structure of the industry
  • Market size, growth and forecasts
  • Customer demographics
  • Industry economic operating ratios
  • Competitor profiles

If you need hard data and current insights to guide your business strategies, be sure to check out Marketdata's comprehensive report on the U.S. physical therapy industry.

About the Author:  John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, ForbesUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and a variety of trade journals. 

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Topics: Healthcare Industry Insights