The wireless charging market is set to soar this year to $885.8 million, up more than sevenfold from $123.9 million in 2010. The massive upsurge this year of wireless charging will dwarf the market’s 60 percent expansion attained in 2010, the first year of meaningful growth for the space, and also will tower above next year’s sizable 276 percent increase. Growth then will begin to taper off, slowing to a still-robust 48 percent in 2015 when revenue hits $23.7 billion.
“Wireless charging offers consumers a viable alternative to recharge consumer electronic devices without the need for dedicated power adapters,” said Tina Teng, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “With the appeal of such solutions, companies are lining up to offer wireless charging despite various technological and standardization issues slowing mass-market adoption.”
The Wireless Charging Opportunity
The market for wireless charging is divided into three segments: product-specific solutions, aftermarket receivers and aftermarket charging pads or stations.
“Given the projected growth for the space, wireless charging devices will continue to make their way into an array of products, including mobile phones, portable media players, digital still cameras and mobile PCs, although penetration at the moment remains miniscule for all sectors,” Teng said. “Among the products, mobile phones will contribute the largest share of revenue to wireless charging—not only because of the large volume of mobile devices expected to benefit from the technology, but also because of participation by name brands in manufacturing, providing much-needed market recognition in the process.”
Of the four current wireless charging technologies in place today, inductive coupling is the most widely adopted. Other wireless charging technologies include conductive, near-field magnetic resistance and far-field magnetic resonance.
Barriers to Wide Adoption Remain
Although wireless charging is poised for major growth in 2011 and beyond, it will take several years for manufacturers to fully implement the technology in their devices, IHS believes. In particular, manufacturers will need to consider how to integrate wireless charging into the design of printed circuit boards, and significant adoption of wireless charging technology will be needed to drive down costs.
One way to spur adoption by the market is for the wireless charging industry to adopt a common standard that would ensure interoperability among the solutions being developed. At present, all commercial solutions are based on proprietary technology, and the skin made by one company, for example, will not work with the charger pad of another firm.
A common goal of the wireless charging industry also is to provide greener, more environmentally friendly solutions. A universal solution not only will fit the power profiles of various devices, the solution itself will be intelligent—shutting down a device automatically after it is fully charged, not wasting power when no transmitters are detected on the surface, and flexible enough to be placed anywhere on a charging pad.
Until the industry finds a standard to follow, the wireless charging industry will be fragmented, IHS maintains, and consumers will hesitate to embrace any solution that might not be promoted in the long term. On the other hand, an open, standardized system will create a healthier competitive environment and prompt manufacturers to join forces—which will enhance consumer awareness and lead to adoption in the markets.