COVID-19 disruptions will reduce the annual smart meter shipments in 2020 by 25%, according to a new report issued by ABI Research.
This means year on year revenue will decline by 31% or $3.3 billion to reach $7.39 billion.
The smart electric meter sector is expected to record the sharpest contraction with a 30% year on year decrease in annual shipments.
The smart water and gas meter segments will record year on year decreases of 19% and 5%, respectively.
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Shipments will decline the most in Europe, followed by Asia Pacific and North America.
In terms of revenue, the APAC region will be affected the most followed by Europe and North America as revenue shrinks by 34%, 31%, and 30% respectively.
Price erosion has also accelerated due to the greater availability of lower-cost smart meters further depressing revenues for original equipment manufacturers.
Adarsh Krishnan, a principal analyst at ABI Research, said: “As energy and water utilities prioritise their business operations, most utilities have temporarily deferred smart meter installations and have re-allocated resources to field service operations to ensure continuity of services to its end customers.
“Meter installation delays have also been driven by service providers and utilities complying with government guidelines on social distancing. That said, utilities that have already initiated smart meter installation programmes are expected to immediately resume those installations as soon as government restrictions are eased.”
However, market revenue is expected to bounce back in 2021 with a 36% YoY growth in annual shipments and revenues exceeding $9.5 billion.
“The pandemic exacerbated slowing shipment growth in China where the penetration of smart electricity meters reached nearly 70% of households by the end of 2019. The next phase of rollouts in China are expected to be much slower as utilities target households in semi-urban and rural regions.
“As utilities resume their smart meter implementation programs by 2H 2020 in many regions, smart meter revenues are expected to bounce back to double-digit revenue growth in 2021,” reiterates Krishnan.
In 2019, Asia Pacific region was the largest market for smart electricity meters, where China alone accounted for nearly 40% of the global shipments.
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