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The global smart meters market generated revenue of $11.3 billion in 2014 and is expected to register a CAGR of 10.6% during the forecast period (2015–2020). The market is mainly being driven by the growing need for energy conservation, which is facilitated by smart meters.
Based on type, the smart meters market is categorized into smart electric meter, smart water meter, and smart gas meter. Among these, the smart electric meter category held the largest revenue share in 2014. This is attributed to the fact that the government and other jurisdictive bodies around the globe are encouraging the installation of smart electricity meters. The installation of such meters is also increasing due to the several benefits offered by them, such as energy saving, peak consumption knowledge, fraud detection, and prepayment facilities. The availability of different types of smart electric meter in the market, including three-phase, two-phase, and single-phase meters, and those working on a range of voltages and current, is also supporting the demand for smart electric meters.
GLOBAL SMART METERS MARKET SIZE BY TYPE, $M (2011 - 2020)
On the basis of the end-user, the smart meters market is classified into residential, commercial, and industrial. Among these, it is expected that the deployment of smart meters would rise the steepest in commercial buildings, such as small-to-large shopping complexes, residential lodges, hotels, and offices, during the forecast period. Hence, the rising deployment of smart meters in the commercial buildings would drive the growth of the commercial end-user category over the forecast period.
Geographically, the North American region held the largest share in the market in 2014. This is attributed to the increasing deployment of smart electric meters in commercial buildings in the U.S. and Canada. Further, the rising installation of smart gas meters in residential buildings would contribute to the growth of the smart meters market in the region in the forecast period.
The rising requirement for energy conservation, which is facilitated by smart meters, is driving the growth of the smart meters market across the globe. Smart meters consist of digital displays for showing the detailed energy usage and the total expenses incurred due to energy usage. With the detailed energy usage and cost clearly displayed, consumers are able to understand their device’s energy usage and act to conserve energy. Consumers can adjust their consumption patterns when they discover the amount of power used, which ultimately decides the operational cost of several appliances. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the U.K. claimed that smart meters can reduce energy bills by an average of $29.0 per household by 2020.
One of the major factors restraining the growth of the smart meters market is the lack of awareness among consumers about such devices and the benefits offered by them. Although the awareness about smart meters is gradually growing among consumers, the understanding of their benefits is still limited. This lack of understanding varies with the socio-economic status and age of consumers. The awareness about smart meters is lowest amongst young adults in the age group of 18–24 years. Among the bill payers in this age group, only one-fourth know about smart meters, whereas among the bill payers in the age group of 55–64 years, more than half are aware of the technology.
The competitors in the smart meters market are using several methods for increasing the awareness and acceptance of benefits about smart meters among consumers. For instance, N.T. Power Systems collaborated with Independent Electricity System Operator and Ontario’s Ministry of Energy for testing the delivery of various messages about time-of-use rates and smart meters.
Paid channels are the most effective way of raising awareness and helping consumers understand the necessity of smart meters. Among all the countries, Canada has the highest number of consumers, who are aware of smart meters, due to the large-scale deployment of such devices in British Columbia and Ontario. However, consumers in Canada have low understanding about smart grids and smart homes. Mostly, low-income consumers, globally, have less awareness about smart meters than people falling in other income groups, and the former also have a low understanding about the importance of achieving energy efficiency in their households.
The smart meters market is highly competitive in nature, with General Electric Company holding the major share in 2014. Furthermore, companies including Siemens AG, Itron Inc., and Schneider Electric SE are likely to increase their foothold by focusing on product development, coupled with the rising investments in research & development (R&D) activities.
Some of the other key players operating in the global smart meters market are Iskraemeco d.d., Landis+Gyr AG, Osaka Electric Co. Ltd., Elster Group GmbH, ICSA(India) LTD., and Holley Technology UK Ltd.
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