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Galaxy Smartphones, Apple Watch Boost Wireless Charging Market

Consumer awareness and adoption of wireless charging is growing amid the inclusion of the tech in devices such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy smartphones and the Apple Watch, a 2016 consumer survey conducted by IHS Markit has found.

The survey found that one in four consumers has used wireless charging on a mobile phone, while more than eight in 10 had heard of the technology.

Conducted in the US, UK and China, the survey showed awareness had increased over the past 12 months to 80 per cent, from 76 per cent in 2015 and 36 per cent in 2014, while, of those who had used the tech, over 98 per cent would choose the feature again.

The growth in awareness and adoption began last year amid Samsung and Apple, among others, employing the tech, with IHS finding that the receiver market subsequently grew more than 160 per cent year-on-year in 2015, with annual global shipments reaching144 million units.

“Awareness is the first step in creating demand, and more products from mainstream manufacturers will need to be made widely available to keep the momentum going,” Vicky Yussuff, IHS Markit wireless power analyst, commented.

“In fact, Apple is expected to release a wireless charging-enabled iPhone in the next 18 months. This would mean both of the top two key players in the smartphone market would be on board, no doubt pushing consumer awareness closer to the 100 per cent mark.”

Last year’s survey found that 20 per cent of consumers had used wireless charging, with this rising to 25 per cent in 2016, reflecting a low volume of new product launches this year. Previously released IHS information found that 10 per cent of smartphones shipped this year will be capable of wireless charging.

Customer retention, however, is high, with Yussuff noting that nearly all consumers that have used the tech have said they want the capability in their next mobile device.

Meanwhile, the market faces challenges amid consumer demand for fast charging options.

“If faster wireless charging can be achieved, the need for longer battery life would decline, as users would be able to quickly top up their battery at various points throughout the day,” Yussuff commented.

“However, it appears consumers already use wireless charging in a different way than they use wired-power alternatives. One key difference is the use of public charging infrastructure, to allow consumers to wirelessly charge their devices’ batteries away from the home or office.”

Half of the users surveyed had used wireless charging in a public place, yet public wireless charging transmitters accounted for less than 2 per cent of all transmitters shipped last year. IHS, however, expects that the public wireless charging use case will have a huge impact on the market overall, with it expected to help drive transmitter market growth over the next 10 years.

Compared to 25 per cent of all other respondents, more than 45 per cent of wireless charging users reported usually charging their devices more than once each day.

“Consumers are already using wireless charging as a means to top up their devices’ batteries, rather than a means to complete a full charge,” Yussuff stated. “Wireless charging tends to be a complimentary feature – not a replacement – to wired charging on mobile phones.

“It is a convenience benefit with overwhelmingly positive consumer feedback; therefore, the continued challenge is finding ways to capitalise on wide consumer awareness, to get these devices into more consumers’ hands, so they can experience the benefit of wireless charging firsthand.”

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