It used to be that wireless charging was a nice-to-have but not got-to-have feature. These days, however, high-end smartphones have started to pick up on the interest and including this as standard feature.
So when IHS Markit made its forecasts of the wireless power market, the analyst made it clear that mobile phones were an important factor driving the growth in this segment in 2018, comprising 71% of all receiver units shipped.
The latest IHS Markit Wireless Power Market Tracker report put annual unit shipments of wirelessly charged mobile phones up by nearly 40% in 2018, reaching 300 million units, mainly driven by flagship models. The growth is expected to build in the mid-range smartphone category, as mobile phone companies plan to extend the adoption of wireless charging in that price band.
Fortified by the growth in the sales of wirelessly charged mobile phones, global shipments of wireless power receivers and transmitters across all applications and product segments grew by 37% in 2018 to 600 million units, compared to the previous year. Global shipments will continue to grow to approximately 2.1 billion units in 2023, according to HIS Markit.
“Wireless power technology continues to evolve rapidly, with reach expanding beyond smartphones to wider applications and product segments,” said Dinesh Kithany, wireless power and power supplies analyst, IHS Markit. “Wireless power technology is also undergoing further sub-segmentation, with regard to wider power levels and distance range.”
He noted that wireless charging feature is used as a market differentiator to promote flagship models. “For example, Huawei and Samsung both included some cool innovations in their smartphones, with features like reverse-charging, wireless power-sharing, multi-device charging and the introduction of NFC wireless charging,” Kithany said.
Opportunity outside mobile
Beyond the mobile ecosystem – which also includes smartwatches, wireless earphones, and wearables – wireless charging is expanding into computing devices, smart home devices, IoT sensors, medical devices, small home appliances, power tools, robots and drones, augmented reality and virtual reality devices, gaming applications, industrial sector, 5G applications, electric vehicles and public infrastructure.
“This wireless charging expansion creates opportunities for emerging wireless power solutions such as high-frequency-based resonant and radio-frequency, infrared and other uncoupled solutions to gain entry into the overall wireless power market,” Kithany said.
According to IHS Markit, the smart home devices market is an especially promising segment for wireless power, because of the opportunities it presents to manufacturers and the benefits that accrue to consumers. Led by smart speakers, the wireless charging enabled smart home market is expected to grow to more than 100 million units in 2028.
“Smart thermostats, air-control devices, electronic door locks, garage-door systems, intruder alarms, video cameras, video doorbells and other smart home devices will follow,” Kithany said. “The IoT sensors market alone is expected to add more than one billion wireless charging devices to this market in the next five years.”
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