The global in-flight entertainment and connectivity market was valued at USD 5.45 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 12.12 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.29% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Changing passenger demand for continuous connectivity aboard is one of the critical elements driving industry expansion. In addition, the increasing number of nonstop long-distance flights worldwide is predicted to generate considerable growth prospects in the coming years.
The IFEC market is on the verge of entering the mainstream and becoming an expected service on international flights instead of an optional supplementary service. Airlines frequently change their IFC service provider to better understand the technology in terms of performance, passenger experience, and overall value for the airlines. This trend is expected to boost market rivalry and the number of collaborations and partnerships, as satellite connectivity providers and airlines collaborate to offer flawless IFEC services onboard.
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The technological advances in wireless connectivity have made it possible for airline passengers to utilize their own electronic devices, fueling the expansion of the in-flight entertainment and connectivity industry. The ever-increasing need for bug-free connectivity onboard by customers is one of the key reasons driving market expansion. The aviation industry is undergoing a tremendous technological shift, necessitating that market participants adapt current products and services. In-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems are crucial in providing customers with up-to-date onboard wireless connectivity solutions and services, supplanting traditional seatback screens and presenting a limited entertainment selection with a moderately personalized model. Moreover, innovations in seat design, connectivity, and real-time data favorably impact the in-flight entertainment and connectivity market. The key competitors focus on enhancing the wide variety of delivery options to enhance demand.
Development of Connectivity Technologies
Continuous investment in networking and connection technology innovation has driven major in-flight connectivity service providers to develop improved solutions to maintain a competitive edge and stay ahead of the competition. Market leaders plan to offer new connectivity technologies and advanced portals to increase bandwidth capacity and speed and provide smart connectivity to passengers' electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Installation costs connected with networking technology and connectivity devices are projected to impede industry expansion. For example, air-to-ground technology costs approximately USD 80,000 per aircraft, while satellite technology deployment costs approximately USD 400,000. This significantly limits the adoption of connectivity gear and services by airlines, especially in emerging regions such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America. In addition, in-flight connectivity services such as network planning, design, implementation, and integration are expensive.
Untapped Market Potential in Developing Regions
It is anticipated that emerging markets in developing regions such as Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America would generate new growth prospects for established companies. It is expected that market participants in the in-flight entertainment and connectivity space, including Viasat Inc., Intelsat, Honeywell International Inc., and others, will help the sector grow. In January 2022, for instance, Anuvu partnered with Asiana Airlines Inc. as a Content Service Provider (CSP). This cooperation increases the in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering of Asiana Airlines to include international films and numerous TV alternatives.
The global in-flight entertainment and connectivity market is segmented into component type, aircraft type, and offering type.
Based on component type, the market has been segmented into hardware, connection, and content.
The hardware section generated the most considerable revenue during the forecast period. Bring your device (BYOD), and wireless mobile electronic devices are anticipated to propel category growth. The component is anticipated to be characterized by a high energy level due to the pursuit of producing lightweight and innovative in-flight entertainment and communication systems. The connection category is anticipated to grow significantly over the forecast period due to the growing demand for passengers to remain connected throughout their journeys. Wired and wireless connectivity are the two types of connectivity. With the introduction of onboard Wi-Fi, passengers may use their smartphones, tablets, and phablets to stream movies, live content, and television shows, removing the need to put hardware at each seat.
Based on aircraft type, the market is divided into three primary categories: narrow-body aircraft (NBA), enormous aircraft (VLA), and wide-body aircraft (WBA).
The NBA section is anticipated to expand fastest and create the most revenue over the projection period. Increased demand for short-haul flights and the development new travel routes and airports contributed significantly to this segment's growth. In addition to superior fuel economy and ergonomics, NBAs are more desirable than their counterparts. Some major airlines are replacing their aging NBA aircraft with a fleet of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, which will create many expansion prospects during the projection period.
Based on offering type, the market is divided into in-flight entertainment (IFE), in-flight connectivity, and in-flight safety and security (IFC).
The IFE component holds the largest market share, and this trend is anticipated to continue throughout the forecast period. IFE is one of the essential services offered by airlines to enhance the whole travel experience of their passengers, especially on long-haul flights. Recently developed IFE systems offer numerous benefits to airline operators and passengers, including less cabling infrastructure, decreased flight weight, and the opportunity for passengers to utilize their own devices. The increasing demand for live media streaming and Wi-Fi support onboard has been effectively met by airlines due to the substantial investments made by industry participants to improve wireless connectivity infrastructure.
The global in-flight entertainment and connectivity market is divided into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA
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North America dominated the global in-flight entertainment and connectivity industry during the forecast period. Regional airlines in affluent nations are anticipated to boost their utilization of such technologies, sustaining the regional business expansion. Some of the region's most well-known airlines, such as United Airlines, Inc. and Delta Air Lines, Inc., always attempt to provide passengers with compensating material via Wi-Fi or medication.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow with a CAGR of 14% during the forecast period. Passenger traffic is driving industry expansion and increasing demand for aircraft with next-generation entertainment and communication systems. Several of the region's most popular airlines provide first-class passengers with modern in-flight entertainment and connection facilities. Garuda Indonesia, the national airline of Indonesia, provides premium travel class passengers with various onboard entertainment options, including live TV streaming, in-flight shopping, and games.
The global In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity market’s major key players are BAE Systems, Cobham plc., Collins Aerospace, Eutelsat Communications, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., Gogo LLC, Honeywell International Inc., Inmarsat plc., Iridium Communications Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Safran (Zodiac Aerospace SA), SITAONAIR, Thales SA, and ViaSat Inc.