Global Report: Government & Health Care Card Volume Up Nearly 10%

2019 Outlook Forecasts Increased Overall Card Production, Lower Dollar Growth

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., Jan. 21, 2019 — Government agencies and healthcare organizations across the globe have been adopting chip cards to adhere to regulations and to combat fraud, driving the volume of cards in these sectors up nearly 10 percent in 2018, according to the International Card Manufacturers Association’s (ICMA) release today of its 2018 Global Card Market and Personalization and Fulfillment Statistics Reports.

Chip cards include additional security features that combat fraud of drivers’ licenses, national identification cards, social benefits cards, and other official government documents, including health care cards.

Chip cards represented 88.5 percent of revenue for all cards globally manufactured in 2018, according to the new research report from ICMA, a global trade association for card manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers.

ICMA’s comprehensive reports show the card industry produced $26.3 billion total revenue in 2018, equal to the production of 36.8 billion cards. The reports are a source of valuable card industry data generated from primary and secondary research, as well as statistical modeling created by Al Vrancart, ICMA founder emeritus and industry advisor.

“The global card industry continues to be a vibrant industry in several geographic regional and vertical markets,” Vrancart said. “Geographically, there is growth in the Asia Pacific region while there is volume growth in nine of the 12 vertical markets. The outlook for 2019 and beyond is for buoyant card units, but lower dollar growth as chip costs continue to decline.”

The reports show 36.8 billion cards manufactured in 2018 with $18.13 billion USD in revenues, a decrease of 4.2 percent of revenue over the prior year. In addition, there was $8.17 billion worth of personalization and fulfillment services for a card industry total of $26.3 billion in revenue in 2018.

The reports examined five regional markets: North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific. Within these regions, the reports analyzed card units manufactured in 12 vertical market segments:  Prepaid Phone, SIM Mobile Phone, Financial, Gift, Government/Health, Retail and Gas, Transportation, Loyalty and Promotional, ID and Membership, Access Control, Blanks and Other.

Highlights from the card market reports included:

  • Asia Pacific is No. 1 with 15.9 billion cards produced with 5.8 percent unit growth and $8.49 billion revenue with a 3.3 percent dollar decline during the prior year as a result of declining chip prices.
  • North America is No. 2 in units with 9.25 billion cards manufactured, which is flat compared to prior year and No. 3 in dollars at $2.98 billion with a 11 percent decline driven by slower U.S. chip conversion.
  • Europe ranks No. 2 in dollars at $4.23 billion and No. 3 in units at 6.1 billion cards with decline of 3.2 percent in dollars and an increase of one percent in units.
  • Financial cards make up the largest unit market and third-largest dollar market at 5.63 billion cards and $3.83 billion.
  • SIM cards make up the largest dollar market at $4.95 billion and the second largest unit market at 5.6 billion cards.
  • Government-issued cards and health cards are the second largest dollar market at $4.31 billion and fifth in units at 3.8 billion cards.
  • Strongest volume growth over the prior year were gift cards at 7.6 percent, government and health cards at 9.1 percent and access control cards at 8.9 percent.
  • Strongest dollar growth over the prior year were gift cards at 12.6 percent, government and health cards at 17.5 percent and transportation cards at 6.1 percent.
  • The global personalization and fulfillment market processed 30.6 billion cards for $8.17 billion.

The global card manufacturing market is valued at $18.13 billion and the personalization and fulfillment services market is valued at $8.17 billion, making the overall global card industry a $26.3 billion market.

The full reports are available to ICMA members on the ICMA website via ICMA.com. Non-members may purchase either report for $995 USD or $1,500 USD for both. ICMA membership information can be found on the ICMA website or by calling 609-799-4900.

Want more industry insider insights or a glimpse into global card trends?For three decades, ICMA has represented the interests of the card manufacturing industry—which includes manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers—as its leading global association.

ICMA maintains several industry-leading training and education programs about card manufacturing for members. These include the Advanced Card Education (ACE) designation and the web-based Card Industry Training & Education (CITE) programs, which provide information on key areas of the industry, as well as online tutorials and webinars on specific topics from card industry experts and leading industry suppliers.

ICMA also provides regular industry reports to keep members informed of emerging trends and changing standards, including Global, European and North America Card Market and Personalization and Fulfillment Statistics Reports each year.The organization hosts three conferences each year. The main event is the Annual Card Manufacturing & Personalization EXPO and the other two conferences are CardTREX North America and CardTREX Europe. To learn more about the benefits of ICMA membership, click here.

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About ICMA

For nearly 30 years, ICMA has been a nonprofit association of card manufacturers, personalizers, suppliers and related industry participants. With more than 200 members globally, ICMA acts as a resource for industry issues, including the production, technology, application, security and environmental issues of cards. More information is available at ICMA.com.

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