In a global biometric hardware market worth over $4B, traditional fingerprint/palm sensors still monopolize 91% of the market, but face and iris sensors lie in wait.
Fingerprint technology impressively dominates the market - but changes are expected
Due to historical reasons, like the criminal fingerprint database established by the FBI with ink-based techniques, fingerprint sensing is the most common biometric technology currently used, by far. We estimate that the annual revenues generated by fingerprint-based solutions are currently $4.1B, representing 91% of the hardware market. Fingerprint sensing dominates technologies like iris, face, palm or voice recognition, because it meets almost all the requirements of a “perfect” biometric recognition technology. It is robust, stable and repeatable, time-invariant, difficult to spoof, has a distinctive meaning, is "unique" amongst a population, accessible, easy to use and acceptably non-intrusive. All other biometric technologies do not yet fulfill those requirements as specifically as fingerprint technology. Hardware revenues generated by the other biometric technologies are relatively low, estimated at $250M, mostly from iris and face recognition. This report identifies the players in the biometric hardware market, and provides technology, market and trend evolution insights.
The fingerprint market has experienced an incredible volume increase in the consumer market with the adoption of the active capacitance detection on an increasing number of smartphones to answer the demand of online identification, mobile payment and unlocking applications. Diverse technologies, such as optical, thermal, and Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (PMUT), are also trying to penetrate the consumer market, but are still very limited. The industrial and homeland/security markets are still widely using optical technology.
Other biometric solutions like iris, face or voice recognition have been introduced but with a limited impact. Their performance hasn’t yet reached the requirements with regards to cost, reliability, false rejection rate and false acceptance rate to significantly penetrate either the consumer, industrial or homeland/security markets.
The biometric hardware sensor market is still growing impressively, particularly thanks to the consumer business
For many years, the global biometric market was dominated by the three big biometric players: Safran Morpho, NEC and 3M Cogent. These three companies are still the leaders, with revenues mainly based on services and data management targeting the industrial and homeland/security markets. But at the hardware level the landscape has hugely changed over the past four years due to the introduction of biometry into the consumer business. With revenues in the tens of millions of dollars in 2010, the consumer market has skyrocketed to $2.9B in 2016. We forecast a compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021 (CAGR2016/2021) of 10.4% and expect more than 700M of consumer fingerprint sensors to be shipped in 2016. Meanwhile the industrial and homeland security markets have increased from $1.1B to $1.5B in 2016 and those traditional markets will grow with CAGRs2016/2021 of 4% and 3.2% respectively.
Are we witnessing disruption in the biometric market
Not yet. The specifications of consumer biometrics solutions are still far from what industrial and homeland/security applications offer and require, in particular regarding the size of the devices, lifetime, accuracy and reliability. Non-consumer applications rely mainly on optical technology allowing medium-to-large detection panels, which contribute to their success. However, multimodality and the explosion of sensors in the mobile market is a threat that needs to be paid attention to. According to the theory of disruption, a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. We are facing this exact situation in the biometric market, starting in the consumer market and progressing into industrial/homeland/security markets. The future may bring a deep change in the biometric landscape.
Objectives of the Report
Characterization and analysis of the cellphone and tablet landscape:
- Determination of the application range
- Market and technology evolution
- Market trends and forecasts
- Key players at application and system levels
Analysis and description of the sensor technologies involved:
- Sensor forecast by application and technology
- Major global actors
- Technology trends
- Main drivers and challenges