Secure Hardware Technologies Markets Will Be Hit Hard By COVID-19 in 2020

Trusted Platform Module Shipments forecasted down 17%, while Trusted Execution Environments growth will remain flat
14 May 2020

Two critical secure hardware technologies, Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) and Trusted Execution Environments (TEE), are likely to be heavily affected by COVID-19 and resulting in economic slowdowns. ABI Research, a global technology market advisory firm, projects that 2020 shipments of TPMs are forecasted to decline YoY more than 17% from 2019, whereas pre-COVID-19 forecasts called for growth of nearly 12%. Shipments of TEEs will remain flat in 2020, far below the pre-COVID-19 growth of 22% originally forecasted.  

“The technologies are dependent on the dynamics in their primary markets, many of which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Michela Menting, Research Director at ABI Research. “Both manufacturing disruptions and the forthcoming economic recession will mean markets such as Personal Computers (PCs) and related accessories, smartphones, 5G equipment, and automotive, are going to be adversely affected, with lowering global demand. This will have a knock-on effect for those secondary component markets, such as secure hardware.”

“For TPMs, it is the slowdown in PC demand that will form the brunt of the impact. Shipment expectations are significantly lowered in 2020, despite a small uptick in the sale of home office equipment. The lowered demand of on-prem IT equipment such as servers and PCs will have a critical impact on TPM sales,” states Menting. “The forecasted YoY shipments between 2019 and 2020 are set to decline by 17.9% as a result. While the rise of cloud demand may offset some loss, it will be Hardware Security Module (HSM) vendors that will profit the most.”

TEEs fare only slightly better, with the forecast for growth in shipments flat YoY between 2019 and 2020 rather than negative. The market is hardest hit by the fall in the production of smartphones, but also by the recent burgeoning demand from the automotive sector, which has all but come to a standstill for TEE. “However,” Menting explains, “A few opportunities for leveraging TEE have emerged with COVID-19, not least within the medical space. Telemedicine use cases are evolving rapidly, and the demand for secure connected medical devices and mobile applications will look to secure hardware technologies for ensuring the highest levels of trust.”

In the longer term, both technologies will be able to recover successfully. The lockdown has shown the importance of secure remote access to technologies and applications, not just for standard Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) but also for many other IoT applications, from smart home to smart cities and smart offices. “As a result, IoT device lifecycle management is likely to see a significant boost in terms of demand, with embedded security as the foundation for digital authentication, where technologies such as TEE and TPM as ideal candidates for kickstarting trusted remote business models, Menting concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Embedded Security Market application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Digital Security research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual market or geography.

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