Total smart card shipments reached the 8.8 billion mark in 2014, a year-on-year (YoY) increase of just over 9%. Of the 8.8 billion, 83% shipped into the SIM or payment cards market. These two verticals drove growth in 2014. The SIM card market bounced back from the regulatory issues which resulted in a shipment decline in 2013, hitting just over the 5.1 billion in 2014. Alongside a successful year in the SIM cards market was a YoY increase of 24.7% in the payment cards market. This growth was driven by the ramping up of EMV card issuance in the United States and large shipment numbers of PBOC cards into China.
Despite these positive factors, smart card vendors are more than ever aware of the saturated nature of the market, with commoditized and price sensitivities driving down prices in some of the more mature market verticals.Now we see a shift in smart card vendor strategies, which are moving away from lower-end solutions in a bid to move up the value chain, increase revenue opportunities and with future emphasis being placed into new areas such as software and services, more suited to embedded security.
Senior analyst Phil Sealy comments, “There remains significant opportunity for IC vendors as more non-card based embedded applications come to the fold, presenting openings in new markets including anti-counterfeiting and brand protection and the securing of data, certificates, and identities on mobile and CE devices. Uncertainty surrounds future growth within the traditional smart card market with the looming threat of cannibalization driven by market convergence and multi-application. Despite this, ABI Research remains confident overall growth will remain in the short-term.” Sealy continues, “There is no current evidence in multi-application and converged solutions having a detrimental impact on the smart card market. In fact, and at least for now, the scenario is quite the opposite, whereby multi-application and convergence is being utilized to enhance and add value, targeting new opportunities which otherwise remain out of reach, for example the addition of a pre-paid app on a national ID card to provide digital banking facilities to the unbanked.”
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Smart Card Technologies and Secure ICs Market Research.
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