NFC-enabled SIM shipments grew to 78 million globally in 2013 from 30 million the previous year, according to the SIMalliance, the industry association whose members account for a majority of the global market for SIM cards.
And nearly half last year’s figure (37 million) was accounted for by just two markets – Japan and Korea.
Elsewhere North America (24 million) took over from Western Europe in second place.
In total, 124 million NFC-enabled SIMs have been shipped in the past three years, said the SIMalliance. In 2011, there were 16 million shipments.
And exponential growth is likely to continue in 2014, it said.
Still, within the context of the whole industry, NFC-enabled SIMs are still small beer. Total SIM shipments were 4.2 billion in 2013, a decline from the 4.6 billion in 2012.
SIMalliance members represent 86 per cent of the global SIM market.
The estimated total market was 4.85 billion, compared to 5.1 billion in 2012. The five per cent reduction was a result of a decline in low-end SIM shipments across Asia, particularly India, following new regulation which requires prepaid SIM customers to be identified and registered.