Smart meter product and service demand in the US is projected to increase more than eleven percent annually to $4.4 billion in 2016. Advances will be driven by the rising penetration of smart meters, particularly advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) products. In addition, the rising share of smart meters in use means that there are a greater number of meters to service, which will support demand for parts and services. The rising number of AMI meters will also generate demand for related products such as meter data management software to better capture and utilize the large amount of data generated by these meters. Furthermore, as some older smart meters, particularly early generations of advanced meter reading (AMR) products, reach the end of their service lives, utilities will begin to replace these products. These and other trends are presented in Smart Meters, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
A critical issue when examining the market for smart meters is the penetration rates for these products -- the share of the entire installed base of meters that is accounted for by AMI or AMR products. In 2011, there were approximately 325 million electric, water and natural gas meters installed in the US, and 45% were smart meters. Through 2016, the penetration rate for smart meters is expected to continue to increase rapidly, rising to 63% of all meters installed. By 2021, there will be approximately 285 million smart meters in use, approaching 80% of all meters installed. The highest penetration rate is expected in electric meters, with smart meters representing more than 90% of all electric meters in use by 2021.
Demand for smart meters will increase more than twelve percent annually to $3 billion in 2016. Gains will be driven by the increasing penetration of AMI meters, particularly in the electric segment. Growth will be supported by continued efforts by electric utilities to increase the intelligence of the electric grid. Both the gas and water segments are also expected to see rapid growth in the use of AMI meters, albeit from a much smaller base than the electric segment. In these markets, the added capabilities of AMI vis-à-vis AMR meters are less valuable to utilities. Still, the increased visibility provided by AMI meters and the declining cost difference between AMR and AMI products is supporting growth in the gas and water segments.