Half a billion smartphones and other devices with wireless power technology shipped in 2017
Mobile phones were primarily responsible for strong growth in wireless power technology in 2017, after Samsung set a precedent with its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone in April 2017, a study from IHS Markit has shown. Apple followed in November 2017, adding the technology to its new iPhone devices, including the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
Led by mobile phones, small appliances and wearables, shipments of consumer electronics devices enabled with wireless charging rose 40% in 2017, compared to the previous year. In all, nearly 500 million devices with wireless charging shipped last year, according to IHS Markit.
Electric toothbrushes will continue to boost the small appliances category, helping the segment grow to more than 100 million units by 2026. Wireless charging is most efficient for electric toothbrushes, because the toothbrush is always in the stand and no energy is lost during the charge.
The Apple Watch, which has featured a proprietary, low frequency charging solution since its launch in 2015, led wireless charging in the wearable devices category in 2017. Smartwatch devices launched by smartphone manufacturers are expected to continue to drive growth in the wearable segment, which is expected to exceed 90 million units shipped in 2022.
According to the latest Wireless Power Market Tracker from IHS Markit, consumer awareness of wireless charging technology exceeded 80% in all regions. Awareness is expected to increase in 2018, thanks to Apple’s support of the technology. However, the number of respondents reporting they had actually used wireless charging technology was still relatively low, averaging only 29% across all regions in 2017.
“It’s not all that surprising that wireless charging use is still relatively low, as the availability of wireless charging technology in flagship smartphones by Samsung and Apple just started in 2017,” said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst, IHS Markit. “In the past, the presence of several competing wireless charging standards was a barrier to adoption. By early 2017, Qi had displaced the competing standards. We expect even more smartphone makers will adopt Qi technology this year.”