The latest data from IMS Research shows that shipments in 2008 of smart electricity meters grew by over 15% from 2007.

Although total shipments of electricity meters did not grow in 2008, smart meter shipments continued their double-digit annual growth. North America?s smart meter shipments grew by over 20%, though those of Europe fell slightly.

Senior Research Analyst Michael Markides commented, "The behavior for the smart meter market in EMEA in 2008 was expected; as various installations in the Nordic region were nearing completion. What is of interest is the growth in North America, where continued penetration of smart meters into the electricity meter market is still strong, despite the weakening economy. IMS Research estimates that, at the close of 2008, the overall penetration of smart meters in the electricity meter market, in the United States was reaching 50%."

With construction slowing down in the mature economies of Western Europe and North America, no short-term growth of shipments of basic electricity meters for new home builds is expected. Advanced meter shipments are harder to gauge as the time gap between the initial tender and meter shipments can often be longer than one year.

Adds Markides, "The 4Q08 showed a slowdown in the smart meter market as signs of the troubled economy surfaced. However, EMEA has further national smart meter implementations on the horizon, while the United States awaits details of a government stimulus looking to modernize energy delivery nationwide."