Biometrics Trends in 2023 – Smartphone Capability, Key Applications, and a Need for Mobility

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2Q 2023 | IN-6970

An overview of the present state of the market for biometrics, highlighting key trends across various markets and device types.

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Biometrics Market Overview


2023 sees the continued rise of the use of biometrics across various markets, notably including the government and security sector, consumer applications, banking and payment, and enterprise. Use cases of access control and authentication through biometrics are present in various forms; ABI Research acknowledges the increasing usage of biometric authentication through consumer devices (smartphones, tablets, wearables) as capability/ sensor penetration in said devices grows, while noting the necessity of larger form factor, dedicated hardware devices for more advanced applications. Simply put, while the use one’s smartphone for biometric capture sees increasing integration in apps and web platforms, there remains to be cases where a high-end unit, most prominently in the government realm (e.g., for ID enrollment, border control), cannot be replaced by the so-called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach.

In terms of biometric modalities, ABI Research sees fingerprint biometrics as the most prominent. While retaining the lion’s share of the market as the most common biometric captured/utilized in devices, ABI Research expects facial recognition to grow the most rapidly in coming years. Facial biometrics align with the growing need of contactless technology and are generally more seamless and easier from the perspective of the user, which helps to drive this trend. This sits alongside lesser-deployed modalities, including vein and iris, which see a presence in more niche applications, for instance in high end border control devices, markedly in the Middle East.

Key Trends in 2023


The growing requirement for mobility underpins the previously mentioned rise of a BYOD approach, which aligns with the consolidation of the smartphone covering as much ground as possible in being a device for as many uses as can be. In terms of fingerprint capture capability in smartphones, penetration of new models is already very high and fingerprint sensor shipments are expected to remain relatively static in coming years as outdated models are replaced. It is across other modalities where ABI Research foresees infiltration to grow in leaps and bounds. This most notably includes facial and voice recognition technology, which will further the scope of where this BYOD approach can be employed.

Further to the point of mobility as a key trend is for biometric devices themselves, aside from consumer electronics. ABI Research foresees a shift towards more handheld and portable devices, away from static centralized hardware setups. An example of this is biometric ID enrollment, where, specifically in emerging economies, a mobilized approach to enrollment can more successfully reach the population to enable a digital identity for as many citizens as possible. This comes in the form of mobile jump kits for multibiometric capture and portable devices, which are experiencing growing demand, detracting from centralized enrollment kiosks which, sub-optimally, require the citizen to travel to an official office or station.

Another application which cannot be replaced by a BYOD approach is biometric automated border control systems, or eGates. The market for these systems is currently seeing rapid growth, driven by rising numbers of international travelers, and a need for greater automation. This is a key market in terms of opportunity, with shipments of high-value Activity-Based Cost (ABC) systems forecasted to rise every year for the foreseeable future, at roughly 2700 units in 2022, with an expected 12.8% CAGR up to 2027.

Biometric locks also represent a strong area of opportunity. With the rise of smart homes, and also potential in enterprise, ABI Research forecasts tremendous growth of this application in years to come, with 2022’s figure of 9.31 million shipments paling in comparison to ABI Research’s expectation of 35.5 million shipments globally by 2027.

Mobility is a Key Design Consideration


Those implementing biometric authentication into their solution, whatever that may be, will look first to a smartphone-based option, if possible. The capability of smartphones and other consumer electronics is continually rising to the point where even low-end models have the availability of biometric capture. This will continue to move the market towards the BYOD approach to biometrics and should be top of mind for integrators of such systems. Where this is not possible, such as in the aforementioned examples, often due to higher security demands present in the government realm, mobilizing solutions should be a key design consideration as the market shifts.