Global Government ID Smart Card Market Falls 11% In the Wake Of COVID-19

Sharp decline in passport and smart national ID issuance opens the door to more “pandemic-proof” mobile credentials and digital ID wallets
16 Sep 2020

According to ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, worldwide shipments of smart Government ID credentials is set to fall from 617.6 million in 2019 to 547.5 million in 2020, in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With most borders closed and governments placing priority on aid and support, many projects have experienced either a reduction in demand or postponement, which will result in a sharp market decline in 2020.

“The markets for passport and national ID have experienced an issuance downturn as governments prioritize healthcare and financial support for citizens,” said Sam Gazeley, Digital Security Analyst at ABI Research. “The typical churn rates for passports have fallen by 50-60% in some countries as closed borders and safety concerns deter citizens from renewing the high end-user cost document. Smart national ID programs have also been delayed due to a shifting of attention and will likely not be seen until 2021 at the earliest. As one example, the deadline in the United States for Real ID has been extended a year as states shift priority for tackling the pandemic.”

Smart National ID issuance is forecast to show a decline of -2.3% from 2019 to 2020, falling to 296 million units. Projects that have already begun issuance, such as in Turkey, Italy and, Bangladesh, will continue to issue, though at a slower pace. New programs in the Philippines, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria have postponed enrollment and issuance until 2021.

The issuance of e-passports will be considerably lower in 2020 when compared to 2019 issuance levels. ABI Research is expecting a 2019 to 2020 year-on-year decline of -34.9%, falling to 119.0 million units. With most borders closed and almost no international travel, demand and thus replacement rates for the credentials have dropped significantly. Though e-passports will likely pick up again moving into 2021 as holiday destinations begin to open borders, issuance will still struggle to reach pre-COVID levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the Government ID market, and its recovery back to nominal issuance levels is heavily dependent on myriad factors. The passport market will depend on countries reopening borders and to which countries citizens can travel. National ID programs will depend on whether governments can spare capital for infrastructure in the wake of an economic downturn and could lead to further delays. “However, it is important to note that the investments and budgets remain available for credential programs, but delays are typically caused by manufacturer shutdowns and reductions on face-to-face interactions within the enrollment process. This could be an opportunity to leverage mobile credentials and digital ID wallets. Doing so will reduce issuance costs and create end-to-end touchless experiences and service access related to remote enrollment and onboarding, service consumption and digital transactions, leveraging contactless communication technologies, which have near-ubiquitous support within smartphones. The use of mobile credentials enables governments to further automate systems and services for citizens looking for a touchless, digitized approach and provides a way to “pandemic-proof” government service access and G2C (Government to Citizen) and C2G (Citizen to Government) communications,” concludes Gazeley.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Government and Healthcare ID Cards 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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