NFC-enabled Smartphone Sales Grew 300% in 2012

NFC-smartphone-rfid-blogAccording to a new research report by Berg Insight, global sales of NFC-equipped smartphones grew 300% in 2012 to reach 140 million units. Annual shipments are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48.2% and reach a billion units by 2017.

Wider adoption of NFC in mobile phones began in 2011 and accelerated in 2012 when the top-10 handset vendors released nearly 100 NFC-enabled models.

NFC technology enables numerous applications such as information exchange, device pairing for establishing Bluetooth or WLAN connections, access control, electronic ticketing and secure contactless payments. However, it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks and access to secure elements that store the sensitive user information in NFC-enabled handsets.

“It is the sum of many possible use cases for NFC rather than one single killer application that make the technology compelling for smartphone vendors already today.” said Andre Malm, senior analyst in Berg Insight.

Nearly all high-end smartphones, with the exception of Apple’s iPhone, support NFC for wireless sharing, mobile payments and more. Companies such as Samsung have heavily promoted the technology to help them get an edge over the competition.

Andre Malm believes this is just the tip of the iceberg, however. He noted that once developers gain more experience with NFC, we can expect to see “entirely new use cases not yet imagined”.