1 in 5 Smartphones NFC-enabled by 2014

At least one in five smartphones worldwide will be equipped with NFC (Near Field Communications) contactless functionality by 2014, equating to almost 300m NFC-capable handsets, according to the latest study from Juniper Research. Juniper’s analysis shows that the growth will be driven in the short term by mobile network operators launching services in 20 early-adopting countries before the end of 2012.

With more and more handset vendors integrating NFC chipsets, the Juniper NFC Retail Marketing & Mobile Payments Report forecasts that NFC payments and retail marketing capability via coupons and smart posters will become common amongst smartphone users in Western Europe, N. America and other developed regions. The report concludes that N. America will account for half of all NFC smartphones in 2014, followed by Western Europe. It notes also that, with many entities, such as banks, mobile operators, transport companies and merchants involved, service complexity is a challenge in each NFC rollout.

Report author Howard Wilcox says: “Juniper’s market analysis highlighted that, although there are still hurdles ahead, NFC prospects have been boosted by the succession of mobile operator and device vendor announcements. France is a case in point where operators expect to sell 1m NFC devices this year.”

NFC is attracting the attention of all the major players, such as Google, France Telecom Orange and Telefonica, who see mobile commerce capability as vital. Juniper’s report pinpoints the main revenue opportunities, but warns also that business model structures still require development before NFC services will achieve critical mass.

Juniper’s report contains six-year forecasts for all key market parameters, including users, transactions and values for both NFC ticketing and retail payments. It also breaks out the opportunities for value added retail marketing services through coupons and smart posters. Additionally the report pinpoints the drivers and constraints impacting the market, and tracks the status of 14 vendors addressing the market. 

There’s more information about the report here.