After a brief market slowdown in 2013, the global market for smart electricity meters returned to double-digit growth in 2014 as Asian suppliers took command of the segment from Western vendors, according to a new research from IHS.
This shift in the global market toward Asian suppliers began in 2013 when North America experienced a decline in meter shipments and due to delayed rollouts in Europe. While the market grew at 5%, it was slower than the normal double-digit growth smart meter manufacturers have grown accustomed to. Meanwhile, Chinese-state run utilities continued a rapid replacement of outdated basic electromechanical meters in 2014, leading to higher growth rates.
Jacob Pereira, analyst for smart utilities infrastructure at IHS, says in a statement that Europe continues to slow down with many of the same issues that caused rollout delays despite seeing a flurry of awarded rollouts given to the region in 2015.
“These delays have caused suppliers in Europe to cede global share to Chinese vendors that are winning bids in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in developing markets in Africa and Latin America,” Pereira says. “In addition, the slow-moving European market is taking its toll on suppliers there, requiring them to try to extend limited cash flow to managing investor expectations, as manufacturers have been awaiting rollouts for well over five years.”
IHS says Western suppliers lost their market share in 2014 as they tend to focus on the higher-margin markets. Because these suppliers often deal in the large Chinese market through partnerships and other third-party methods, contrary to local manufacturers that deal directly, their market share appears lower. Western suppliers also are active in other developing markets such as Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, however, demand there is generally much lower.
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