Based on feedback from quantum computing industry executives and corporates, research analyst GlobalData predicts full-scale commercialisation of quantum computing is unlikely to happen before 2027.

Quantum computing has entered public discourse over the past three years, surrounded by much hype and wildly differing timelines for commercialisation. A geopolitical race to become the first to market with an error-free quantum computer has seen a confluence of interest and funding from large corporates, venture capitalists and policymakers alike. Inflated company valuations and a failure to reach promised technology milestones, as well as wider, increasingly dire macroeconomic conditions, have led to an industry consensus that 2023 will mark the beginning of a ‘quantum winter’.

Despite a potential slowdown in the development of the sector, quantum computing remains on national agendas. As corporates and governments prepare for the moment a commercial-scale quantum computer becomes available, technology breakthroughs and failures are still highly unpredictable in a technology field notorious for its technical challenges.

“Any predictions about the market in quantum computing are educated at best given its nascence and the prospect of unanticipated breakthroughs,” stated the ‘GlobalData Thematic Intelligence Quantum Computing’ report, issued on 10 March.

GlobalData estimates the quantum computing market size to have been valued somewhere between $500m and $1bn in 2022. The analyst predicts the market will reach $10bn between 2026 and 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of between 30% and 50%.

Dr Ilana Wisby, CEO and founder of UK company Oxford Quantum Circuits, said: “The world has been waiting for quantum computing to mature to the point that it can change our lives.

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By GlobalData

“Quantum computing represents a major shift in terms of technology and process. Unlike classical computers, quantum computers can crunch vast amounts of data at incredible speeds.”

The company announced a partnership with US data centre giant Equinix to make its quantum computing-as-a-service offering available to businesses and organisations on Equinix’s global platform in late 2023.

Most businesses working towards becoming quantum-ready are experimenting with simulations for now, which companies such as Oxford Quantum Circuits are offering as a cloud-based service. Industry experts agree that quantum computing-as-a-service will become the way most companies will interact with the technology as the cost of owning a quantum computer – even when one is ready for market – will be prohibitive.

Large players are emerging in the quantum computing space, including Honeywell subsidiary Quantinuum, Psi Quantum (the most well-funded start-up in the space) and Big Tech companies such as Google and IBM. Concurrently, an ecosystem of quantum computing start-ups focused on different areas such as quantum cybersecurity, operating software and hardware components is fast developing. The industry has seen increasing levels of funding.

Global venture capital funding in quantum computing start-ups has risen steadily since 2018 and stood at $1.62bn in 2022, according to GlobalData.

During this period from 2018 to 2022, deal volume remained consistent at the same time that the funding increased, which indicates a maturing of the market in which later stage, larger sized deals were taking place.

There have only been three quantum computing company initial public offerings so far: IonQ, Rigetti Computing and D-Wave. With current market volatility, it is unlikely that other late-stage quantum start-ups will consider going public in the near future. With challenges to the wider global start-up ecosystem and a global economic downturn predicted for 2023, it remains to be seen what progress quantum computing will make over the coming year.