Key drivers for biometrics in Europe in the next 5 years

Although North America and Asia-Pacific are dominating the global biometric market, Europe is moving fast forward in terms of biometric adoption thanks to government’s high investment in building security systems and the growing acceptance of European consumers towards this authentication method.

iris recognition border control

Recently in October, the European Council has approved the establishment of an Entry-Exit System (EES) for the border management of the Schengen Area. The aim of this adoption is to fight against terrorism and serious crime, at the same time, to increase the automation of border controls, improve detection of document and identity fraud as well as better monitor unauthorized short stays of non-EU visitors. The system will register the name, type of travel document, biometrics (fingerprints and facial image), the date and place of entry and exit from the Schengen Area.

The EU estimates that the project will cost €480 million ($567 million) and expected to be fully implemented by 2020. This move will lead to a very high demand in biometric solutions in order to meet the project’s requirements in the coming years. According to Reportlinker, the European smart borders, immigration enforcement & border security markets from 2017-2022 will surge by 104%.

In recent Europe’s biggest fintech event Money 20/20 held in Copenhagen in June, topics of focus includes digital banking, payment cards and how biometrics are embedded into mobile devices and IoT technologies enabling fingerprint, face, voice and iris authentication for online and in person financial transactions. In fact, according to lately survey done by Visa across Europe, nearly three-quarters (73%) see two-factor authentication, where a biometric is used in conjunction with a payment device, as a secure way to confirm an account holder. When looking solely at the perceived security of biometric technologies, 81% of consumers see fingerprints as most secure, followed by iris recognition with 76%.

Since 2016, MasterCard has tested and launched payment methods using biometric authentication including selfie pay biometric app and biometric card with embedded fingerprint sensor in Europe. Fueling this biometric adoption wave is the heavy investment in fintech in Europe where fintech deals grew 124% in 2016 compared with 2011’s total and hit a five-year high on the continent in the same year, according to CBInsights.

Europe is home of many major automotive manufacturers and these corporates are looking into and introducing biometric technology in their vehicles to strengthen security and provide luxury customer’s experience. This will be one of key drivers for biometric growth in European market since Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW and Ford have started integrating biometrics for driver authentication and drowsiness detection. Markets and Markets research firm reveals that Europe is estimated to account for the largest share, in terms of value, of the biometric vehicle access system market in 2016 and will keep its dominance to 2021 with 8.6% CAGR of growth rate.

In the next 5 years, Homeland Security Research forecasts that Europe biometric market will grow fast by 92%. The growth is primarily driven by extensive demands and deployments of biometrics in government projects, especially border management and the increasing need for reliable user authentication methods due to privacy concerns and rapid advancements in networking, communication and mobility systems. The UK, Germany, France and Italy would be countries with highest contribution.