As the global market continues to move towards more advanced technologies, electricity meter manufacturers shipped more than 100 million smart meters globally in 2015, generating more than $4 billion in hardware revenue. The market is estimated to have grown by 4 percent over 2014, and is forecast to reach almost $7 billion annually by 2021, according to IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.
“A number of factors came together to create such a strong smart meter market in 2015,” said David Green, research manager at IHS Markit. “At the top of the list, China continues to roll out massive numbers of smart meters, as part of the government’s 10-year plan.”
In fact, China was again the largest single global market for electricity meters in 2015, accounting for almost half of all basic and smart meters shipped globally. Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese utilities have also installed millions of smart meters, in an attempt to build a strong smart-meter base before the country deregulates the market. Meters shipped to Europe and North America also experienced solid growth in the past 12 months, a relief from long-term delays to rollout plans in previous years, according to the IHS Markit Smart Electricity Meters Report.
“The long-awaited European rollouts are gaining steam, with multiple countries installing millions of meters in 2015, and many more ramping up to that level in an attempt to meet their deadlines,” Green said. “Meanwhile, the North American market also came out of a stagnant phase, further bolstering the overall global market in 2015.”
A bright, growing future for smart meters
As smart metering technology continues to gain a wider understanding, alongside the ever-increasing value of data, the market for communicating meters will continue to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace than the breakneck speed of recent years. This continued growth bodes well for meter manufacturers, who can benefit not only from increased sales in their core products, but also from additional revenue from software platforms, data hosting, installation services, maintenance contracts and other secondary products.
“Looking to the future, the networking infrastructure side of the smart metering picture is becoming increasingly competitive, especially as the pool of companies involved in the projects increases,” Green said. “For example, the influence of telecommunications companies and IT solutions providers on utility providers is growing in all regions, while the question for meter manufacturers continues to be centered on whom to partner with and to what extent. Although the impact on competitive landscape for meter hardware might not yet show it, big changes are also in the offing, as software, analytics and services grow in importance. Further merger and acquisition activity is definitely in play for the short term, as utility companies around the world get more comfortable discussing smart-grid applications, security and services with a wider array of potential suppliers.”