The Global Haptics Market has Some Mountains to Climb Before Dominating Consumer Electronics

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Now that the holidays are over, the Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES, is kicking off is Las Vegas on January 6th.

This is typically where the big wigs of the tech industry—companies like LG, Samsung, and Panasonic—unveil exciting new offerings.

And one of the buzzwords popping up again and again from CES exhibitors large and small is haptics.

Haptic technology generates touch sensations through tactile feedback technology. These sensations can be in the form of applied forces, motions, or vibrations.  The easiest example is the vibrations felt in a video game controller, but the technology is definitely finding applications way beyond gaming.

Global haptics technology market in consumer electronics by end-user 2014

Source: Technavio, 2015

Strong projections on the horizon for haptics

2015 was a massive year for haptics, with the growth rate topping 40%. However, this is expected to level off over the next few years.

For our part, Technavio expects the global haptics technology market for consumer electronics to reach a value of $106.7 million by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 21.1%.

But despite the solid projections, haptic feedback is still being refined, and the technology has some major challenges to overcome before it is widely adopted in consumer electronics.

Key challenges for haptics in consumer electronics

Design considerations

Implementing any new technology in consumer devices presents a design challenge. Factors like cost, durability, form, functionality, performance, power consumption, and other technical specifications all have to be considered.

In the case of haptics, mobile device OEMs have to make sure that mobile devices incorporating haptics remain affordable and user-friendly.

Additionally, developing and manufacturing devices with the technology is complex, and vendors are investing more in R&D, and focusing on providing optimized products with the right balance of performance, power, and price.

Low consumer awareness

In a lot of cases, consumers just aren’t that aware of haptics, and if they are it’s not significant enough to inspire them to seek out devices with the technology. Since haptics isn’t necessarily a make or break feature for consumers, a lot of manufacturers are lacking the impetus to sink a lot of R&D dollars into developing it.

Power consumption

And while haptics might not be a key feature in consumer electronics, power consumption certainly is.

The key scenario that has to be considered when integrating the technology in handheld devices is how the addition of haptics will impact battery life.

Basic haptics, like vibration alerts during incoming calls, messages, or games, has a pretty minimal effect on battery life. However, emerging HD haptic applications are a lot more demanding on the power supply.

Since very few consumers are willing to trade battery life for haptic feedback, vendors need to find ways to circumvent this issue if the technology is going to take off.  


While there are many companies working in and around haptic technology, Immersion is the only global vendor that provides haptics for consumer electronics.

So Immersion has the power to control the market and, most importantly, the price of the technology. This is resulting in relatively slow market growth for such a new technology.

For more information on the global haptics market, check out Technavio’s new report.