The wireless charging transmitter market more than doubled in 2015, as 53 million transmitter units shipped globally, according to IHS Inc. (NYSE:IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. The latest IHS Wireless Power Transmitter Market Report shows growth in transmitters was largely driven by the receiver market. Both transmitters and receivers are expected to increase in volume over the next 10 years, shipping nearly 2.8 billion units in 2025.
One in 10 smartphones shipped globally in 2016 is expected to include wireless charging capability, and more diverse applications are beginning to offer this technology. Along side this increase, wireless charging transmitter-to-receiver attach rates jumped from 28 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2015, the IHS report said. Receiver shipments have already topped 144 million per year, but the increasing attach rate for transmitters reveals a corresponding rise in actual consumer use of the technology.
"Wireless power transmitter shipments are primarily driven by adoption in the receiver market and by the attach rate for each receiver application," said Vicky Yussuff, wireless power analyst for IHS Technology. "For example, more wearable devices are starting to offer wireless charging and are usually shipped with a dedicated wireless charger included in the box. The biggest volumes will come when wireless charging is offered as the primary way to charge a device, with a transmitter shipped in the box, which is particularly important for mobile phones, as they lead all other devices in the use of wireless charging technology."
In 2015, the Apple Watch launched with a low-frequency solution as the only method of charging and shipped with its own dedicated transmitter in the box, which contributed greatly to the more than 23 million wearable-device transmitters shipped in 2015. Samsung also integrated wireless charging into the Galaxy S6 last year and heavily promoted transmitters. For example, the company offered two-for-one deals and free transmitters for consumers who signed up for Samsung Pay. Samsung also used this same strategy in the launch of its Galaxy S7 smartphone earlier this year.
"While these trends have helped increase transmitter shipment volume in the short term, the majority of today's receiver devices are still not shipped with a wireless transmitter in the box," Yussuff said. "Consumers might not be aware of -- or even choose to use -- wireless charging features built into their devices, which brings the receiver-to-transmitter attach rate down."
More adoption is expected in the transmitter market as wireless-charging-enabled notebook PCs enter the market later this year. Wireless charging for PCs provides consumers with an additional reason to purchase transmitters and further force the need for wireless charging in public infrastructure.
"General public-space deployment is one of the most important ways to increase awareness, usage and demand for wireless charging technology," Yussuff said. "McDonald's, Starbucks, Marriot and Hilton already offer it, and further penetration of the technology in more public areas will intensify growth in the public infrastructure segment of the market. In fact, the one-millionth public infrastructure transmitter is forecast to ship this year."