55% of Smartphones Sold Now Feature Fingerprint Sensors

July 17, 2017 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Fingerprint sensors are found on most smartphones these days. In fact, it’s harder to find one without a fingerprint sensor than one with a fingerprint sensor. And according to a study from Strategy Analytics, it appears that around 55% of global smartphone sales are of a device with a fingerprint sensor. The study also showed that of those smartphones with a fingerprint sensor, around 90% of them use the sensor on the front of the phone, leaving very few to use it on the back. In 2013, fingerprint sensor-equipped smartphones were only 3%. That rose to 10% in 2014, 23% in 2015 and 40% in 2016. In the past four years, fingerprint sensors have really become a lot more than just a selling feature, but almost a requirement of smartphones.

Strategy Analytics also notes in its report that it believes the number of fingerprint buttons will actually decrease as these sensors continue to become more popular. With more manufacturers opting to use ultrasonic sensors that can be hidden under the glass. This is something that Qualcomm has been working hard on, and recently just announced a new sensor that can live under the glass of your smartphone and still work. The study also speculates that by 2020 there could be as many as 1.45 billion smartphones sold that have a fingerprint sensor included.

It was only a few years ago that manufacturers began using fingerprint sensors and they really didn’t take off. That was until Google decided to build in support for these sensors with Android Marshmallow, coupled with Apple adding a fingerprint sensor to the iPhone and then later on, the iPad. Now, most smartphones have fingerprint sensors, even the “cheap” ones, like the Moto E4. Fingerprint sensors have become pretty popular, and it’s not hard to see why. It makes it easier to keep the device secured, as well as authenticating yourself in different apps, especially finance apps like banking apps or mobile payment apps like Android Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay. Fingerprint sensor usage is only going to rise, but what will change is how companies integrate these sensors into smartphones and other mobile products over the next few years.