Acuity: Biometric smartphone market soared in 2016
05 January 2017 14:50 GMT

Research by tech insights firm Acuity Market Intelligence’s has found that 87 smartphone vendors introduced 346 smartphones incorporating fingerprint or eye-based biometrics in the past year, representing an “explosion” in interest, says the group.

The research company’s Biometric Smartphone Update notes that this growth brings the total number of biometric smartphone models introduced since 2013 to 549, more than double the 200 models Acuity reported one year ago in January 2016.

“The proliferation of biometric smartphones is extraordinary. The 500 models currently available on the market today represent a ten-fold increase in just two years,” says Maxine Most, Acuity Market Intelligence Principal. “Biometric smartphone growth will continue as mobile application security, particularly for financial services, demands biometric authentication, low-cost apps and sensors drive down the cost of biometric integration, and consumers clamor to eliminate their reliance on passwords and pins.”

Acuity states that during the four-year period from 2013 to 2016, the quarterly average price of a biometric smartphone decreased from $849 to $277. This includes 127 models selling for $150 or less.

Meanwhile, Acuity analysis indicates nearly one billion biometric smartphones are currently in use representing 40% of the global smartphone market. Acuity expects this to grow to 100% of the two billion smartphones shipped annually within two years reaching 100% installed base penetration by 2022. 

During 2014, 28 biometric smartphone vendors, most with single offerings, ventured into the market. Today, of the 87 vendors offering biometric smartphones, more than 30 offer at least six models and market leaders ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung and Xiaomi have each introduced at least 20 biometric smartphone models.

According to Most, a leading biometric market expert, “This unprecedented growth supports Acuity’s assertion that within two years, biometrics will be as ubiquitous on smartphones as high resolution cameras are today.”

"Acuity is confident the market will achieve the 100% biometric smartphone penetration originally forecast for the end of 2018 in The Global Biometrics and Mobility Report,” Most said. “This will not only fundamentally change the dynamics of the smartphone market but create a truly global platform for biometric authentication.”