According to a RFID sector survey by IDTechEx Research, the RFID market will increase from $6.98 billion in 2012 to $7.88 billion, and will reach $23.4 billion in 2020. This includes tags, readers and software/services for RFID cards, labels, fobs and all other form factors for both passive and active RFID.
The market for RFID has grown steadily despite the economic downturn due to the diverse nature of its applications from tagging retail apparel to transport ticketing to animals. Since 2000 there has been a strong push to use passive RFID to improve supply chain visibility, with a wide range of investment in new RFID technologies, new standards and much publicity. Inevitably as with most new technologies, aspects were over hyped and demand not in sync with capacity, but as we entered 2010 the industry emerged from the hype cycle and over the following years until now, has entered a period of rapid growth and profitability for some. There are different rates of growth for different applications and many challenges, but in total, IDTechEx finds that 5.9 billion tags will be sold in 2013 versus 4.8 billion in 2012. This was reflected earlier this year in studies by VDC Research.
The last five years has seen consolidation throughout the value chain in passive UHF RFID with some companies emerging in true phoenix-from-ashes style. This is mainly driven by one application—retail apparel—which will globally demand 2.25 billion RFID labels in 2013. Some suppliers are now profitable and see rapid growth ahead. After apparel tagging, passive UHF is deployed in many different application areas for asset tracking and other applications. These are small volumes in their own right but add up to hundreds of millions of tags per year given the strong payback they give users. IDTechEx Research expects 3.1 billion passive UHF RFID tags to be sold in 2013.
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