Contactless ticketing smart card shipments to fall 10% in 2020

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In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide shipments of contactless ticketing smart cards are set to fall from 439.7 million in 2019 to 393.9 million in 2020, according to analyst firm ABI Research.

With many transport authorities reporting a ridership disaster and transport networks limiting the use or significantly reducing capacity to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, the contactless ticketing market has seen a considerable slump in 2020.

“Clearly 2020 will see a decline for the contactless ticketing market. Overall a -10.4% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth rate, related to unit shipments is forecast, with continued migration from memory to microcontroller. But the overall decline is a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sam Gazeley, digital security research analyst at ABI Research.

Continuing from the trend in 2019 for memory, a decline in memory shipments is expected this year due to the continued global microcontroller migration as a platform to increase security and enhance functionality, as networks look to ready themselves for mobile ticketing deployment. YoY growth for memory units will land at -19.3% in 2020 with 143.4 million units shipped, down from 177.8 million in 2019.

With most global transport networks undergoing significantly reduced services, ridership and issuance has been significantly lower throughout 2Q 2020, with the impact likely to impact all of 2020, ABI said.

Mobile ticketing will also see a sharp impact, with QR code usage in the airline market falling 69% in 2020. This is driven by significant international travel restrictions and not expected to fully recover until 2022, at the earliest.

Not only are most countries seeing a shift towards a rising and likely continued “work-from-home” culture resulting in less commuting, but tourism has also seen a decline, driven by significant international travel restrictions.

Furthermore, any localized public travel linked to major sporting events, music, and entertainment has been effectively shut down.

“However, there are many positives to draw from the current situation. The global Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a drive toward the Contactless Ticketing System (cEMV) as a platform to modernize ticketing systems in a contact-free way. While ridership has seen a significant downturn as a result of the pandemic, cEMV systems provide several advantages for end-users and transport operators who can move away from the cost of issuing proprietary paper tickets and plastic passes,” Gazeley explained.

“As it relates to account-based ticketing (ABT), Singapore has migrated to an account-based system, with many other operators citing moving to open-loop as a major priority. Soon, Malaysian transport authorities may also seek to leverage ABT to achieve interoperability with different fare media with the option to use bolt-on services,” Gazeley adds.

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