SIM card shipments to rise to 6.6 billion by 2017

Annual volumes of SIM cards shipped are forecast to increase from 4.8 billion 2011 to 6.6 billion in 2017, according to IMS Research.


Annual volumes of SIM cards shipped are forecast to increase from 4.8 billion 2011 to 6.6 billion in 2017. This is one of the leading conclusions from IMS Research’s (recently acquired by IHS Inc.) just published report SIM Cards – World – 2012.

“In terms of volumes the SIM card market is by far the largest smart card market and this is forecast to continue to be the case over the next five years,” stated Alex Green, director of IMS Research’s Financial and ID Technology Group and the report’s author. “That being said, the market is forecast to change somewhat in complexion during this time.

“One of the most interesting changes will be in terms of the card form factors. The standard 2FF form factor has dominated the SIM card market for many years now. However, the smaller 3FF form factor has grabbed share during 2011, with nearly 200 million shipments. Further even smaller form factors, such as 4FF, are also forecast to take share during the next five years. The share taken by the traditional 2FF form factor is forecast to have fallen to 60% by 2017”

Non-removable form factors are also forecast to see success over the report’s forecast period. This will be particularly driven by cellular-enabled industrial M2M devices where removable form factors are less practical and higher environmental tolerances are required. The big question remains as to whether these embedded SIMs will also be used in traditional cellular devices.

he product types that drive the SIM market are also forecast to change to some extent over the next five years. Smartphones and traditional cellular handsets have been the primary end-devices for SIM cards historically. Although these are still forecast to drive the bulk of the market, cellular-enabled consumer electronics devices, such as tablets, PCs, USB dongles and cellular-enabled industrial M2M devices (such as utility meters, vehicles, asset tracking devices and EFT-POS) are forecast to take approaching 15% of the market in 2017.

The IMS Research report SIM Cards – World – 2012 examines these issues in detail, along with presenting forecasts for more than 60 individual countries. The report also explores the impact of various embedded SIM card market models as well as presenting the market by air interface, NFC secure element uptake, SIM memory, IC markets plus much more.

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