But this success is double edged, warns Yole, as it coincides with a fast decreasing average selling price due to a strong competitive landscape, process optimization and numerous emerging technologies.
The fingerprint market is exploding notably within the smartphone market where it is expected to increase from US$2.8 billion in 2016 to US$3.4 billion in 2022. From 23 million units in 2013, 689 million fingerprint sensors for smartphones were sold in 2016. This is an incredible 210% CAGR between 2013 and 2016. The 2016-2022 timeframe will see a more reasonable, but still impressive growth.
According to technology & market analyst Guillaume Girardin, the fingerprint market is today pushed by OEMs requiring all-glass design and waterproofing.
“This will lead to the emergence of new technologies like CMOS TFT and ultrasonic detection as new ways to detect fingerprint with a high level of integration”, notes Girardin. ”These new technologies will clearly reshape the competitive landscape.”
Apple introduced the iPhone 5s in 2013, after acquiring Authentec a year earlier. Since then, fingerprint sensors have been massively adopted, and the volumes of sensors shipped into the consumer market have grown incredibly.
“At first, the sensors were a convenience and protection feature for unlocking phones”, explains Guillaume Girardin. “However, they are now shifting into a security feature for online identification and mobile payment in an increasing number of smartphones.”
Fingerprint sensing is becoming a mandatory feature on every smartphone, adding a lot of value. However such an increase in volume is always followed by strong cost pressure, and this is what has happened over the last three years.
The average cost of a fingerprint sensor has decreased from around US$5 in 2013 to US$3 in 2016, and even less for low-end technologies. And the pressure hasn’t gone away. “Current technologies have now reached maturity, and are threatened by new technologies, which need lower cost to gain momentum”, analyzes Guillaume Girardin. And this is the case for ultrasonic detection, for instance.
Over the past four years, consumer fingerprint sensor market evolution has been driven by the introduction of the biometry in the smartphone business. Revenues were a few tens of millions of dollars in 2010, mainly from the laptop business. Then, the overall consumer market skyrocketed, shipping 800 million units in 2016, worth US$2.9 billion.
Get your Fingerprint Sensor Applications and Technologies report from Yole développement – www.yole.fr