Smart meter shipments to surpass 130 million units by 2016


Dean Chuang,
Senior Research
Analyst, IDC Energy
Framingham, MA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 6, 2012 – Global smart meter shipments in the second quarter of 2012 grew 33.6 percent over the previous quarter, and were up nearly 51.3 percent year over year, according to IDC Energy Insights’ latest worldwide quarterly smart meter tracker.

While smart metering continues to supplant earlier generations of analog and AMR technologies, shipments are showing different growth patterns across various geographies, IDC finds. The U.S. market continues to recede from the ARRA peak, and momentum in the smart metering market is now shifting to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Total shipments in 2012 are expected to approach 51 million units. By the end of 2016, IDC estimates worldwide annual meter shipments to surpass 130 million units, with almost two-thirds of these into the Asia-Pacific region.

In Europe, utilities are actively testing various advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies, and many EU member states have signaled their commitment to embrace smart metering in compliance with the European legislation mandating deployment of smart meters where economically feasible. These states are now in the process of finalizing the regulatory framework for their respective national rollouts, which are to be completed by 2020.

As large smart meter tenders are not expected in the EU before the second half of 2013, global meter vendors are actively exploring new market opportunities in other regions. In light of their rapidly increasing energy consumption, outdated energy infrastructure, and problems with energy loss/theft, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) hold significant potential for the AMI industry. Facing stiff competition from local vendors that often enjoy long standing relationships with domestic utilities, several global meter vendors have sought to build their position in these markets through local partnerships and specific product offerings.

“As the momentum in AMI deployments moves to less established markets, both utilities and the vendor community need to determine the best approach for each market,” commented Dean Chuang, senior research analyst with IDC Energy Insights. “While each market and utility has different needs and a different level of smart grid ambition, there is ultimately a compromise between selecting an ideal customized solution and the costs of deviating from a standardized approach.”