The global smart meter industry shipped 5 million units in the first quarter of 2011, up by 22.7% from Q1 2010, according to a report by IDC.
The market researchers expects the number of digital metering systems shipped to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 25% each year, reaching over 71 million by 2015.
Roberta Bigliani, a researcher at IDC, noted that significant gains had been made in the EMEA smart meter market, where the number of units shipped increased by 43.8% during the last quarter of 2010.
"In Spain, [utility company] Endesa has progressed with its rollout plan and Iberdrola has proceeded to the final stage of its initial pilot," he wrote. "British Gas has proceeded with the announced rollout using Landis+Gyr multi-energy solution and Trilliant communication."
IDC’s North American smart meter analyst Dean Chuang noted that there was some resistance to change in the US, but that he expects the economic benefits of smart metereing to win out.
"Despite the initial industry and public reluctance for change in North America, smart meters can serve the interests of both the utility and the customer," said Chuang. "This dual purpose will drive utilities around the world to adopt smart metering technology and launch the next generation of grid infrastructure."
Landis+Gyr, the Swiss metering company that was recently acquired by Toshiba, came top of the vendor list in terms of market share, with almost a third of the global market. The company doubled its shipments year on year for the quarter. Smaller Italian vendor Enel’s shipments grew by 232%, and its market share rose to almost 10% for Q1 2011.