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Governments prioritize ID documents to mitigate thin chip supplies

Governments prioritize ID documents to mitigate thin chip supplies

The global chip shortage is not having as detrimental an impact on the production of smart government ID documents as on other card markets, according to new industry analysis.

ABI Research has published a new report on the health care and government smart-card sectors that, overall, shows better growth since the advent of the pandemic than many observers anticipated.

Mobile digital IDs, though not the focus of the report, also will grow. They just will not benefit as much from the chip shortage, according to ABI.

Global unit shipments of government smart ID cards will rise from 500 million last year to 554 million this year. Governments will have issued 318.4 million smart national IDs during the calendar year 2021, according to the firm, 12.1 percent more than during 2020.

It is not so surprising, given life under COVID-19, to see that biometric passports are expected to grow only 7.5 percent over the same period. It will be 2024 before passport issuance reaches pre-COVID levels.

The shortage should make a measurable impact on card shipments next year, ABI found, but nonetheless, the pain will be less in that sector than in banking and payments.

Meanwhile, momentum can still be found in mobile driving license, or mDL, and other digital ID programs. China, Germany, Argentina and the Philippines all have significant mobile ID efforts. That is true to a lesser extent with the politically fraught idea of health passports.

Growth in issuances could accelerate, wrote ABI, with biometric ID standardization, something the International Civil Aviation Organization has been focusing on.

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