Contactless Ticketing Smart Card Shipments Fall a Further 4% in 2021 as the Chipset Shortage Takes Hold

05 Oct 2021

After a sharp fall in 2020, the worldwide shipments of contactless ticketing smart cards are set to fall another 4% in 2021 to 271.8 million, according to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research. While many countries are still in various states of reduced transit services, the chipset shortage has begun to kick in for 2021 causing a shortfall in supply for lower ASP end markets.

2021 will demonstrate a slight decline for the contactless ticketing market after an initial fall in 2020. Overall a -4.3% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth rate, related to unit shipments is forecast, with a continued migration from memory to microcontroller. This will remain below levels seen pre-COVID in 2019 for the foreseeable future,” says Sam Gazeley, Digital Security Research Analyst at ABI Research.

Memory shipments will see a YoY decline of -8.9% moving into 2021 as shipment levels sink further from a drastic fall in 2020, with another fall forecast in 2022 as the chipset shortage sees manufacturers switch to higher ASP chipsets. YoY growth for memory units will land at -8.9% in 2021 with 96.5 million units shipped, down from 105.9 million in 2020.

With many global transport networks beginning to increase their number of services, ridership has marginally started to pick up throughout 2021, though issuance of smart card tickets has fallen slightly. Mobile Ticketing will see a recovery in 2021 with 3.3 billion tickets delivered, up from 1.4 billion in 2020. Many travelers, under the advice of governments, have shifted travel patterns and switched from public transit to working from home, walking, biking, or car sharing and moved from annual or monthly travel passes to day passes. As a result, and factoring in the impending chipset shortage, ticketing smart card shipments have seen a decline with issuance below pre-COVID levels with the possibility of a return to such levels a number of years away.

In the wake of COVID-19, transit authorities have had time to revise their project roadmaps and seek alternative offerings. Developments in AFC systems have provided a driver to Fare Payments as a Service (FPaaS), which offers an alternative approach to a standard AFC system. Instead of the standard model, transit authorities can opt for a fare payments platform and pay for services on a PAYG/subscription basis enabling them to deploy the latest tap and ride innovations to their ridership base in a short timespan with the opportunity to grow offerings as they become available,” Gazeley explains.

Closed-Loop EMV is also a closely watched development at the present time. “The maturity of the EMV-in-transit market lends itself well to closed-loop EMV adoption, with a number of transit authorities signaling they will adopt such a solution by 2025,” Gazeley adds. The first is expected to be the Stockholm project, predicted to launch in 2022, followed by London potentially in 2025, with similar projects from other European countries, such as the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Russia.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Contactless Ticketing Smart Card Technologies market data report. This report is part of the company’s Digital Security research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie.


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