According to a new research report from Berg Insight, the market for NFC-ready POS terminals grew quickly in 2011, with annual shipments doubling to an estimated 2.5 million units worldwide. The growth was driven by a transition in the NFC-payments ecosystem from performing trials to actual rollouts of NFC-ready payment infrastructure in preparation for the arrival of NFC-based mobile payment services.

Berg Insight forecasts that the global installed base of NFC-ready POS terminals will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.4 percent from 3.9 million units in 2011 to 43.4 million units in 2017. This corresponds to an increase in the penetration rate from 8 percent in 2011 to 53 percent in 2017. The penetration rate is projected to be highest in North America where an estimated 86 percent of the terminals will be NFC-ready by 2017. The penetration rate in Europe and the rest of the world will be 78 percent and 38 percent respectively. Berg Insight expects that the emergence of mobile wallet services will be the most significant development in the payments industry during the next few years.

“Mobile wallet services will create an unprecedented opportunity for retailers to interact with consumers in real time while their purchasing decisions are being formed, for instance by delivering personalized offers in real time while consumers are inside the shop,” said Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst at Berg Insight, in a press release.

The analyst firm’s study also explores the use of mobile payments in market segments such as vending and parking. “In the parking market a growing share of transactions are initiated from mobile phones instead of parking meters. This development is pushing major parking meter vendors to diversify into the pay-by-phone parking market,” says Kurkinen. He adds that SMS-based payments for vending are gaining momentum in some parts of Europe. An example is Selecta, the leading European vending operator, which recently rolled out SMS payments to all of its public vending machines in Switzerland.