New market research indicates that demand for mechanical locks is set to hold steady in the near term despite the rising popularity of electronic access systems.

A research note released by market consultancy IHS sees mechanical locks continuing to play a prominent role in property-related security, with demand for the devices set to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent during the four year period from 2013 to 2017.

While electronic access control solutions are expected to enjoy higher growth rates in terms of both revenues and units because of the enhanced functionality they provide, according to IHS Market Research analyst Adi Pavlovic, mechanical locks will still enjoy solid prospects, given their lower cost as well as the role as a contingency measure against power failures or computer malfunctions.

While Pavlovic does not expect mechanical locks to be rendered obsolete by the increased popularity of access control systems, he does concede that demand for the traditional devices could soften.

“The trend towards more access control systems only limits the growth of mechanical locks in the medium-term; it does not necessarily replace them,” he said.

Pavlovic further points out that the low cost of mechanical locks continues to make them economically advantageous compared to more sophisticated computerised access systems.

“For many end users, the cost of an online electronic access control solution remains cost prohibitive, so these end users must continue to rely on mechanical solutions,” he said.

As a consequence, the impact of electronic access control systems will be differentiated on the basis of geographic region and related levels of economic development, with emerging nations continuing to favour mechanical locks, making them key drivers of global demand.

“Overall the mechanical locks market is slated for positive growth in the medium-term, with strong construction activity in emerging markets and the BRIC countries continuing to drive demand for mechanical locking solutions,” said Pavlovic. “However, more mature markets such as the US and Europe will see more impact by electronic access control systems.”

China is emerging as a key manufacturer of mechanical locks, which is expected to put pressure on the average sales price for the devices. IHS expects the average sales price for mechanical locks international to fall by 0.6 per cent from 2013 to 2017.