Consumers are craving biometrics, or is it smartphone manufacturers?

December 12, 2016 // By Julien Happich
In its Sensors for Biometry and Recognition 2016 report, Yole Développement expects dominant fingerprint technology to give place progressively to multimodal solutions. But the most striking finding from the market research firm is that the consumer sector, especially smartphone applications are driving the development of biometrics.

These represent 66% of the total biometric hardware market compared to only 2% six years ago. Consumer biometrics is on a 10% CAGR from 2016 to 2021, forecasts Yole.
And consumer products are showing the highest adoption rate ever, while being the most widespread biometric devices, thanks notably to smartphones which will support the growth of biometrics at a 6.4% CAGR between 2015 and 2021.

Yole reports that 525 million units of fingerprints sensors were sold in 2015 and expects that figure to rise to 1,500 million units by 2021.

“By 2021, fingerprint sensing won’t be the unique biometric solution embedded in a smartphone, the advent of multimodal recognition is on the verge to conquer the consumer market” comments Guillaume Girardin, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole.
Fingerprint recognition for unlocking and mobile payment has become the biggest biometric market value. According to Yole's analysts, today Fingerprint sensing represents 91% of the biometrics hardware market value and the annual revenues generated by fingerprint-based solutions, all markets combined, reach currently US$ 4,1 billion.

Although it dominates all other biometric technologies as the almost perfect recognition technology, fingerprint sensing will not remain dominant for ever. For a number of years now, eye-based and face-based recognition technologies are gaining momentum, especially in the homeland and security market. The homeland and security market is showing a rough 75% of fingerprint-based solution (still growing as fingerprint scanners and multimodal solutions), and more than 16% of eye and face-based technologies (combined).

Some industrial products like time attendance systems are already using single or multimodal biometrics solutions and will continue to grow, driven by a strong Asian market pull.

The consumer market for biometrics is also growing beyond the smartphone, with more and more IoT devices being equipped with fingerprint sensors and microphones to authorize the access to a location or to confidential information.

Moreover current voice assistant developed and popularized by either Amazon or Google are starting to use voice recognition modules to allow only registered person to interact with the system.

“Current performances are not sufficient to perform a good recognition of the owner but future sensors, especially with high SNR , beam-forming and always-on behaviour will drive the market in a near future”, explains Guillaume Girardin.