Apple has ignored NFC, choosing instead to implement other mobile payment systems in its iPhone devices. This has limited the reach of NFC in the premium smartphone market and, in turn, limited the rollout of NFC to the greater smartphone industry.
Last year, however, a tipping point was reached and NFC technology is now quickly becoming a standard mobile payment method throughout established markets. Market Research Firm IHS today released a new report showing just how fast NFC is spreading.
The report estimates that NFC-enabled mobile phone shipments hit 275 million units last year, up 128% from the estimated 120 million shipped in 2012. The market is expected to rise another 50% this year to a predicted 416 million units shipped and by 2018 the market is predicted to reach 1.2 billion.
“The majority of smartphone makers are adopting the NFC wireless communications and payment technology in their products as a de facto standard,” said Don Tait, senior financial analyst at IHS. “Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of mobile payment – and NFC wireless readers are proliferating in businesses throughout the world. This strong momentum will allow the NFC cellphone market to overcome barriers, including a lack of compelling services and applications, and the sluggish progress on establishing the required infrastructure.”
Though the credit industry and mobile providers have been proactive about announcing mobile payment initiatives, the rollout of such plans has not taken place at the speed market watchers once predicted. IHS suggests that in the coming months more mobile payment stations and NFC applications will have to debut to keep consumer interest in the technology from waning.
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