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Water meter market posts larger growth than initially projected

The global market for water meters enjoyed greater revenue growth than expected last year, thanks to a move toward the use of high-value products, according to a newly released report entitled “The World Market for Water Meters” from IHS. 

Worldwide revenue for water meters rose 7 percent in 2012, the first time in several years that revenue expansion has outpaced unit growth, and also stronger than earlier projections had suggested.

Increased investment in high-value water metering products was responsible for the unexpectedly high growth.

The shift was evident in particular toward products such as static measurement technology and advanced metering solutions, mainly occurring in the developed economies.

The trend is expected to continue in North America and the collective Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) region during  the next several years, IHS believes. 

In North America alone, domestic static meter shipments more than doubled last year and are now estimated to account for roughly 11 percent of all domestic meters that were shipped.

Every major vendor supplying water meters to this region offers a static measurement option with two suppliers, Kamstrup and Elster, providing static technology as their only water meter portfolio choice.

In addition to a drastic uptake of static technology, large volumes of communicating meters were shipped in 2012, accounting for an estimated 65 percent of total regional shipments. This is estimated to grow to almost a 90 percent share in 2017. 

In EMEA, strong revenue growth remained largely because of a huge jump in communicating water meter shipments, despite slowing expansion in unit shipments last year.

The UK and the Ireland sub-region had the highest penetration of communicating meters, due to a number of large projects in 2012. EMEA has, in fact, the most widely varied profile of territories in terms of communicating meter penetration. 

“Investment in communicating water meters and remote reading solutions is not necessarily connected with the economic health of a country,” said Nicole Tuggle, market analyst for the Smart Utilities Infrastructure Group at IHS.

“Oftentimes government involvement, such as is the case with Ireland’s domestic metering connection project, drives advanced meter adoption.”  

In Spain, meanwhile, a weak economy meant that overall water meter shipments contracted in 2012, Tuggle noted, even though the country saw an increased volume of communicating meters being shipped.

Strong revenue growth is expected to continue over the next several years as increased volumes of high-value water metering solutions are shipped globally.

The developed economies of EMEA and North America will also maintain their role in driving the majority of this growth, accounting for roughly 60 percent of global revenue.  

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