RFID market to reach $9.2 billion in 2014 and more than triple in next decade

Research suggests RFID has penetrated only 7% of the addressable apparel market.

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IDTechEx, a market research and consulting firm, has released research suggesting the RFID market – including tags, readers, software and services, for passive and active RFID – will grow from $7.88 billion in 2013 to $9.2 billion in 2014.

That figure is up nearly 32% from $6.98 billion in 2012. Most growth is due to active RFID and real-time locating systems (RTLS) systems, the report indicated, followed by interrogators and then tags in terms of total money spent.

“We are entering a period of very strong growth in RFID overall,” said Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, in a recent interview. “By the beginning of 2014, 26 billion RFID tags had been sold and of that six billion alone were sold in 2013.”

In supply chain and logistics, Das said RFID is used for tracking assets such as roll cages, unit load devices (ULD), totes and tools. Because RFID is for relatively short ranges, from between sub-meter to a few meters, it is complimentary to GPS (global positioning system) technology for both asset and product tracking. For instance, Das continued, a container might be fitted with GPS and an RFID reader and as an RFID-tagged case is put on the container the two might be associated in software.

When paired with RFID technology, sensors and data loggers can monitor conditions like temperature and impacts. Das said these are widely used in the food traceability industry, mainly to meet insurance requirements. “These are often more expensive because they have a power source,” he said, “but the cost is falling. Additionally, those in charge of quality control are piloting solutions for brand differentiation, not just meeting insurance requirements.”

Passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags have seen rapid growth, the report continued, from a total of just more than three billion tags in 2013 to 3.9 billion tags in 2014. IDTechEx finds that 2.48 billion passive HF tags will be sold in 2014, although at an average price of almost 10 times that of passive UHF tags. The highest volume sector for passive UHF systems is retail apparel, which the report suggests still has some way to go with RFID penetrating only about 7% of the total addressable market for apparel in 2014.

After extensive interviews with suppliers, IDTechEx finds that there are now emerging or established leaders in most positions of the value chain across the different technologies – yet still very few companies have sales of more than $100 million.

IDTechEx expects the RFID market will reach $30.2 billion in 2024. This research was conducted for the report RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2014-2024 which provides data and analysis in all the main applications. With more than 90 tables, the report provides granular insight into the sector.

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