5.2 billion smart cards shipped in 2009

Smart cards became even further embedded within everyday life for most consumers in 2009. In total, 5.2 billion microcontroller and memory-based smart cards shipped into applications such as SIM cards, payment and banking, government ID, and transportation, among others. At the same time, the integrated circuit (IC) market was worth $1.7 billion, according to the latest metrics from ABI Research’s Smart Card Market Data.

On the card side, Gemalto maintained its clear position as the number one manufacturer, with an estimated 33.8% market share, while Morpho (previously Sagem Orga) gained the most market share (up 1.8%) to consolidate its fourth position.

Meanwhile, with 26.3%, Infineon continued to account for the most revenue among the IC manufacturers while in unit terms, Samsung’s strong position in SIM cards saw it capture 34% of IC volumes.

Principal analyst John Devlin said: “Last year’s market conditions were unusual. While the smart card market largely weathered the recession in terms of consumer demand, the IC market took a hit on two fronts. First, both card manufacturers and issuers ran down their inventories as they assessed the impact of the credit crunch. Second, price pressure increased greatly as IC manufacturers looked to fill plant capacity and maintain orders. Combined, these factors saw the value of the market fall by more than was expected.”

Devlin concluded: “New revenues are coming from contactless/dual-interface cards and more applications require the greater security offered by smart cards. There remains a small but solid memory-based market but higher-end secure microcontroller ICs and embedded solutions are driving the new growth. As a result of this and re-stocking inventory, we forecast that IC revenues will grow nearly 14% in 2010.”

ABI Research’s Smart Card Market Data forecasts show that the market is ready to grow, both in terms of card volumes and IC revenues. The data, segmented by vertical application, product type and interface, include estimates for the installed base and the annual shipment volumes of smart cards and smart card ICs, and track the average selling price (ASP) and the resultant revenues.