IMS Research: smart card industry grew 16.7% in 2008
Gemalto continued to be far and away the market leader, accounting for more than the next three companies combined, and its growth into service areas is one that others are keen to follow. In March, Gemalto announced its pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductors’ Mobile Services Business that will reinforce its position on NFC / contactless business.
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), after reporting record turnover and profits in 2008, maintained its position as the second largest manufacturer of smart cards globally. In April, the company announced it was purchasing SmartTrust.
Oberthur (up 1.4% year on year on 2008) closed the gap on Giesecke & Devrient in second place last year to less than one percent market share difference following its acquisition of XPonCard. Sagem Orga (up 1.3%) and Watchdata Systems (up 1.5%) were the other two companies calculated to have made the biggest gains last year.
"There continues to be an erosion of standard smart card ASPs, particularly in the SIM arena, as increased competition (particularly from China), economies of scale and a slight slowdown in growth rates means that price pressure continues to grow. However, a number of companies are innovating with higher-end products in this area in order to increase margins. Added-value features, such as A-GPS, accelerometers, smart card web-servers, personalization techniques, green credentials, increased security and multi-application cards are being released." Devlin continued, "Overall though, the majority of companies are looking beyond new card uses, such as in laptops for proof of ID and network access, to software and services for their long-term revenue growth."