Sales of NFC-enabled devices are expected to accelerate from 2013 onwards, with the availability of a larger range of mobile NFC handsets and an improved contactless POS infrastructure, according to the latest report from Informa Telecoms & Media. Total NFC handset shipments are expected to grow from almost 44 million in 2011 to over 630 million in 2015, representing 40 per cent of all new handsets, up from 3.5 per cent at present.

We expect a modest growth of the mobile NFC market for the next two years but this will change as many of the leading players introduce NFC-enabled handsets, spurred to enter the market by fear of Apple’s and Google’s ambitions in the sector. Google has already played its hand, overshadowing moves by carriers in its home territory, the US. Apple is still waiting in the wings, leaving everyone guessing, according to Guillermo Escofet, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

We anticipate that Android will account for the largest number of NFC handset shipments from 2012 onwards and over 75 per cent of NFC handsets are anticipated to be smartphones by 2015.

In addition, growth will be driven by the various user cases for mobile NFC (e.g., tagging/sharing, access controls, coupons, loyalty cards, information, ticketing and local payments). The availability of NFC handsets will depend on the speed of deployment of NFC-enabled POS infrastructure, the handset vendors’ perception of the scale of the commitment to the market from the mobile operators, and the financial services and retail sectors.

The total value of the transactions from mobile NFC payments is expected to grow from around US$2.4 billion in 2011 to over US$71 billion by 2015. Currently over 90 per cent is generated in Asia Pacific (mostly Japan and South Korea) but this share will drop to around 40 per cent by 2015 as Western Europe and North America start to see strong adoption of mobile NFC services.

Not all NFC handsets shipped will be actively used for NFC services, as this will depend on the number and range of merchants with NFC-enabled POS terminals. Consequently, usage will be highest in markets where POS infrastructure is already widespread like Japan and South Korea or is expected to be rolled out quickly like major urban areas in Western Europe and North America.

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