ABI Research has finally quantified the impact of COVID-19 on the fingerprint market. The firm is now reporting that global sales for biometric fingerprint devices will be down 22 percent for the year, a figure that corresponds to a drop of $1.8 billion. Device revenues for 2020 are expected to close at around $6.6 billion.
Those numbers reflect a broader shift away from contact-based forms of authentication. In that regard, interest in fingerprint sensors plummeted in the early days of the pandemic, with public health experts warning that shared touchpoints could facilitate the spread of COVID-19. In response, many organizations suspended their use of shared sensors, and transitioned to contactless modalities like facial recognition.
COVID-19 also reduced the amount of money that organizations were willing to spend on new technology, especially in the public sector. Money that had been earmarked for biometric devices was instead redirected toward personnel and core operational expenses as government agencies struggled to provide consistent coverage during the crisis. The story was similar in the private sector, where the rise of the remote work environment negated much of the need for on-premises security solutions.
“Governments had to delay or temporarily cancel many fingerprint-based applications related to user and patient registration, physical access control, on-premise workforce management, and certain applications in border control, welfare, immigration, law enforcement, and correctional facilities,” said Digital Security Industry Analyst Dimitrios Pavlakis.
Despite the bad year, ABI Research does believe that fingerprint devices will recover. The firm now predicts that the market will start to grow again in 2021, and climb to $40 billion by 2025, as the remote ecosystem creates new opportunities for device manufacturers.
“Current MFA applications for remote workers might well translate into permanent information technology security authentication measures in the long term,” said Pavlakis. “This will improve biometrics-as-a-service monetization and authentication models down the line.”
ABI identified Thales, IDEMIA, NEC, FPC, and HID Global as some of the key players in the fingerprint space. The firm’s findings are similar to those of MarketsandMarkets, which similarly believes that growth will continue after a down year in 2020.
October 15, 2020 – by Eric Weiss