The number of smart meters installed around the world will reach 535m units by 2015, while smart meters are set to comprise the majority of all installed electrical meters by 2018, according to a new report from Pike Research.

This represents a significant upgrade from the market research and consulting firm’s prediction in the fourth quarter of 2009 that the installed base would be 251m units by 2015.

Pike Research said the largest contributor to the upgraded forecast is the strong adoption of smart meters in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in China.

The company believes that the smart meter installed base will continue to see robust growth beyond 2015 and will reach 963m units by 2020.

“Smart meters represent a compelling value proposition for utilities around the world,” said the company’s research director Bob Gohn. “The industry has made significant headway during the past two years, and the growing installed base of smart meters will be an important precursor of more diverse energy management solutions in the years to come.”

Pike Research projects that the annual global market for smart meters will peak at just over 100m units in 2015, followed by a gradual decline in annual unit shipments. The growth of the industry will be characterized by regional waves of adoption, beginning with the North American market, which will peak in 2012, followed by a peak in the Asia Pacific in 2015, in Europe in 2017, and more gradual long-term growth in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

The firm anticipates that smart meters will represent the majority of all installed electrical meters by 2018, and the smart meter penetration rate will reach 59pc by 2020.

Pictured: Smart meter monitor