What's Driving PICO Projector Market Growth?

by Sohini Bagchi    May 31, 2016


Pico projectors have been there for nearly a decade. However, nearly all of the devices available in the market were considered “dumb”, as they had no operating system to speak to and required a host device to be connected to them to provide the content. All that is changing today. The growth of the market is largely driven by smartphones and tablets among others. Many new Pico projectors are offering an Android operating system and some even offer wireless streaming. 

Pico projectors market will be further spurred by the introduction of wearable electronics and the development of HD Pico projector and headup display in the coming years, believe experts. The worldwide Pico projector market estimated to reach USD 9.32 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 40 per cent between 2014 and 2020.

The India Pico projector market is also vibrant. Increasing demand for mobility, growing trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) across the Corporate and IT sector as well as rising penetration of smartphones particularly across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities have fuelled the growth of these Projectors over the past few years in India. Additionally, increasing spending on consumer electronics, rapidly changing urban lifestyle and implementation of ‘Digital India’ initiatives by the government have further contributed to the development of this market.

In the initial days, the image quality produced by a normal Pico projector was not satisfactory; therefore, there was a demand for general projectors with a good and sharp image quality, at a similar price range. The issues with image quality were resolved with the development and introduction of high-definition (HD) Pico projectors. Players in the ecosystems of Pico projector have started the development of HD Pico projectors. Recently in October 2015, Sony introduced MP-CL1 mobile projector. This Pico projector delivers HD resolution using laser light as a source and was priced at USD 349.99.

Mobile, wearables driving growth

In a 2013 report, iSuppli Corp, on estimating the size of the market said that the combination of small physical size and large image makes embedded Pico projectors a perfect fit for space-constrained mobile devices.

iSuppli defines Pico projectors as front projectors weighing less than 2 pounds—or about 0.9 kilograms—and sized at less than 60 cubic inches—or about 983 cubic centimeters—without a battery pack. Despite their small sizes, Pico projectors produce large displays, with some products capable of showing bright, 50-inch diagonal images on a wall or other surface.

“Mobile electronic devices offer consumers and corporate users the portability they desire, causing an increasing number of users to employ products like smart phones and netbook PCs as their primary platforms for computing and Internet access,” said Sanju Khatri, principal analyst, signage/projection, for iSuppli.

However, a major obstacle blocking the use of mobile devices in this fashion has been their tiny displays relative to desktop PCs. Embedded Pico projectors promise to enlarge these displays, making mobile devices more capable as primary computing and Internet-access platforms, said Khatri in the report.

Pico projectors nonetheless have found initial acceptance in the corporate market, allowing business people to make presentations directly from their mobile PCs, smart phones or PDAs. Smartphones represent a promising market for embedded Pico projectors. Samsung Electronics pioneered in this area with the unveiling of its Show smart phone at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2015. 

Introduction of the Pico projector has given significant opportunity for the development of an innovative wearable electronic device. Players in the ecosystem of Pico projectors have done lots of research and development so that Pico projectors can be embedded into wearable electronics. Cicret (France) is one such company which has developed a bracelet which includes the Pico projector as one of many components; other components include proximity sensor, accelerometer, and vibration module. The company is planning to start its manufacturing by fall of 2016 and the bracelet is expected to be available to consumers by the end of 2016.

APAC a vibrant market

Asia-pacific accounts for the large share, in terms of value, for the Pico projector market and the APAC market for Pico projectors is expected to grow at a high CAGR during the forecasted period. APAC is considered as hub for supplying consumer electronic products due to which the demand can be easily meet. Therefore, consumer electronic suppliers and Pico projector manufacturers would together drive the Pico projector market in the APAC region.

Lenovo Group, Sony Corporation and Haier are some of the players involved in the development and introduction of Pico projectors into their products. 

With deals and acquisitions heating up, the corporations are still investing in the technology. However, it seems some work is still needed on the content side of things.  The agreement between Sony and Viacom to stream cable channels on mobile devices in 2014 may be an extremely important step toward providing the much-needed content that these Pico projectors need.  

The India growth factor

According to a 6Wresearch report, India Pico projector market shipments value reached over $1.8 million in CY 2015. Xelectron and Portronics together captured around 62 per cent share of the market even though more than 7 vendors shipped projectors in India. Pico projectors featuring resolution of 320X240 accounted for major share of the market. Other major players in the India Pico projector Market are Asus, Vox, Zync and Acer.

According to Anuj Mehrotra, Senior Research Analyst, 6Wresearch-India Electronics Division,“Growing need for portable projectors, decreasing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and rising need across application segments such as education, media & entertainment, Corporate and Healthcare have increased the awareness of PICO Projectors in the country. Additionally, introduction of advanced features such as 3D technology and in-built Wi-Fi capability have further assisted the market attentiveness.”

According to Pulkit Shrivastava, Research Analyst, 6Wresearch-India Electronics Division, “Over the recent quarters, India Pico projector Market has witnessed entry of several new players with advanced technological capabilities. For instance, Canon, one of the key players in India Projector Market has launched RAYO series of Pico projectors featuring superior image resolution and Wi-Fi capability to target utmost share in this niche market.”

While it seems to many that Pico projectors were becoming a faded dream, the industry on the whole is poised for a rebirth. As a tech enthusiast notes in his blog, much like the mythological Phoenix rising from the ashes, Pico projectors will once again soar to new heights, thanks to the digital explosion that is giving a new meaning to many such technologies of the bygone era.