Published on 18 June, 2009
|Gemalto continued to be far and away the market leader, accounting for more than the next three companies|
Number three smart card manufacturer Oberthur Technologies
(up 1.4% YOY in 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. However, the latest market analysis from IMS Research
shows that the German company, after reporting record turnover and profits in 2008, maintained its position as the second largest manufacturer of smart cards globally, behind market leader Gemalto
. 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.
"Overall the smart card market grew 16.7% in 2008 in terms of volumes and all manufacturers saw plenty of upside", commented John Devlin, author of IMS Research's Smart Card Annual Review & Market Share Update. "This meant that there was plenty of room for companies to manoeuvre and try to gain some initiative with regards to developing new opportunities."
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. Only in March did Gemalto announce its pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductors' Mobile Services Business, giving it an extension of its contactless/NFC business and combining it with NXP's MiFare knowledge. Other companies have also built out the service side of their businesses, announcing partnerships and acquisitions, such as Giesecke & Devrient's purchase of SmartTrust this April. Much of this development focuses on the mobile market since half of the smart cards in use last year were SIM cards.
"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, personalisation 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."