PARIS–Vendors will ship 6.02 billion smart cards next year, up 13.2% from 5.32 billion this year, fueled by growth in emerging markets, vendor trade group Eurosmart announced here Dec. 7 at the Cartes & IDentification conference.

“A few years ago we were expecting every inhabitant of the world would one day have smart technology in his pocket,” said Marc Bertin, Eurosmart chairman. “We will be very close to that in 2011.”

For the first time, banking and retail smart card applications next year will exceed 1 billion, Brussels-based Eurosmart says. Financial services and retail smart card applications altogether are on track to reach 1.01 billion in 2011, up 14.8% from 880 million this year, boosted in part by strong numbers of payment cards migrating to the EMV format in Latin America and Asia.

Eurosmart  predicts the proportion of contactless cards within the smart card segment to rise next year, and its growth is outpacing that of smart card devices, Bertin says. The organization forecasts contactless card shipments to increase 28.4% in 2012, to 475 million from 370 million this year, fueled partially by strong growth in dual-interface cards that are both contact and contactless.

“All industry segments in contactless cards are growing, and Near Field Communication technology is driving significant volume in contactless,” Bertin said.

Next year, the telco industry for the first time will drive measurable growth in shipments of contactless products, amounting to some 15 million contactless devices, he added.

Rising concerns about data security are helping to drive smart payment and contactless technology, Bertin said. “New (contactless) form factors are emerging to (enhance) security and convenience,” he said, anticipating biometric-enhanced smart card payments to drive further development next year.

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