ABI Research forecasts that global SIM card shipments will reach 5.2 billion units in 2014, marking a revitalizing 5.32% increase from 2013. LTE, NFC, and M2M have successfully paved their way into the industry and are considered the trends for the next few years.
Large markets like India, China, and Saudi Arabia are currently among the last countries to undergo ID registration regulations. Among them only India saw a massive decline in shipments during 2013 but data from 2014 show that the market has successfully stabilized and steady growth is expected from 2015 onwards.
The era of technological advances brings forth renewed competition while the market share battle rages on. In one of the major highlights of 2014, European Union (E.U.) vendors are pushing forward with new product developments in an effort to claim a bigger portion of the market. Two smaller E.U. vendors (Bluefish and ST Incard) have increased their shares significantly in 2014, while the combined market shares of E.U. companies including the big four vendors (Gemalto, Oberthur Technologies, Morpho, and G&D) were calculated at 70% for 2012, 74% for 2013, and 75% for 1H 2014. On the other hand, Asian vendors (Eastcompeace, Watchdata, Datang, Wuhan Tianyu, and Kona) seem to be struggling to maintain their market shares as this is the third consecutive year that their shares declined. Overall, the combined market share for Asian vendors in 2012 was 25%, 20% in 1H 2013, and 18% in 1H 2014.
The three trends gaining momentum in 2014 onwards are LTE, NFC, and M2M. Research Analyst Dimitrios Pavlakis comments: “Exploring global data we found that in 2014 we witnessed the crucial moment when technology curved at a higher percentage towards LTE. For the United States, Japan, and South Korea this transition was achieved quite smoothly while Africa and India are experiencing difficulties in their attempt to invest and upgrade their current network infrastructure. The board is set and LTE, NFC, and M2M are the rapidly increasing trends of the market. Global analysis in 2014 suggests 83% increase in LTE technology, 153% increase in SWP Secure Element SIM shipments, and 63% increase in MFF shipments since 2013.”