Research Firm: RFID Markets Not Contracting

Despite the weakened state of the world economy, RFID markets are not contracting, according to the latest data from ABI Research. At worst, RFID markets are growing at a slower rate, ABI says.

The Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based research firm notes that positive signs are beginning to appear, and forecasts suggest that even with the ailing automotive vertical included, the RFID market should see 11% growth between 2009 and 2010. Remove the deeply depressed automotive immobilizer numbers, which are directly tied to vehicle production, and the growth rate jumps to almost 16%.

"Transponders, readers, software and services are all showing healthy growth," ABI Research Practice Director Michael Liard says.

According to Liard, other growth areas include:

  • Contactless ticketing.
  • Contactless payments (particularly in North America and Europe).
  • Item-level tracking in fashion apparel and footwear.
  • Asset management (corporate assets, returnable transport items, tools/parts and work-in-process).
  • Baggage handling.
  • Real-time location systems (RTLS).
  • Electronic identification (e-I.D.) documents.
While e-I.D. documents showed some decline in 2008-2009 as a result of the winding down of China's national I.D. card program, the sector is expected to rebound in 2010 due to increased numbers of passports being issued by dozens of national governments, according to ABI Research. Other high-profile government e-I.D. Initiatives include border-crossing cards, RFID-enabled driver's licenses and electronic vehicle registration (EVR).

ABI Research notes that retail is looking forward to a boom in contactless payment cards in the United States, with Europe not far behind.

Meanwhile, ABI predicts that asset tagging will gain momentum, particularly in corporate finance and banking, health care and manufacturing environments, as well as in new areas such as energy, utilities and gaming. Asset tagging will continue to expand in traditional rental asset management (such as library books, media and laundry, for example), according to the research firm.

"Based on sales-growth pipeline conversations, our end-user research and RFID revenues reported to ABI, 2009 will likely not be as bad as many thought," Liard says. "Key economic and industry indicators point to stronger growth in 2010, especially the second half."

Detailed information about these and other RFID markets is contained in the latest update to ABI Research's "Semi-Annual RFID Market Data." It offers data on RFID revenues and unit shipments, segmented by technology, application and vertical market.

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