A new report shows explosive growth in the RFID industry—a trend that changes how businesses can and should assess both their RFID needs and their suppliers.
According to the October 2015 report from IDTechEx Research, the RFID industry will grow to total sales of over $10 billion in 2015, up from $9.5 billion in 2014. This includes tags, readers, software, and services for both passive and active RFID.
The upward trajectory is expected to continue, with total sales forecast to rise to $13.2 billion in 2020, and $18.68 billion by 2026, fueled both by the implementation of RFID technology in existing markets as well as the unprecedented use of RFID in exciting new applications.
As RFID proves itself as an affordable and effective tool for business, companies must choose their RFID suppliers wisely. The rapid growth has encouraged many new players to enter the RFID market, and not all of the new comers will be qualified to deliver a quality, custom RFID solution.
Apparel Tagging Sets the Example
The apparel industry leads the way in adopting RFID technology, and is a strong example of how RFID can transform an entire business.
Passive UHF RFID tags (also known as RAIN RFID) have been widely adopted for tagging apparel, with 3.75 billion tags used for that application alone in 2015. These tags help boost inventory accuracy, improve on-shelf availability, reduce shrinkage, enhance the customer experience and provide key data insights to apparel retailers.
The tags have been so successful, major retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target have begun rolling out the technology across their entire chains.
The success of RFID in apparel and retail has encouraged other industries to adopt a more wide-ranging approach the technology as well – and now they’re also buying tags in record numbers. An estimated 800 million RFID tags will be used in the transportation industry in 2016, and over 400 million tags will be used in the tagging of animals.
New Applications Stimulating Further Growth
In addition to the tags used in established markets, unprecedented applications are fueling even greater industry growth. These uses include the expanding use of contactless banking cards for payment, the Bluetooth pairing of electronic devices, tagging computer game figures, and many more. New applications are being discovered nearly every day.
A Word of Advice… and Caution
There is a large number of RFID hardware and service providers in the market, and selecting the right one for your application can be difficult. ‘Canned’ solutions, while alluringly inexpensive, are often not flexible enough to be adapted to business processes in place at your company.
Selecting a vendor with experience in your industry and your application, whose approach is adaptable to your business practices is often the best choice. Pick a vendor that is flexible in selecting or developing the software, hardware and processes that will provide you the best return on your RFID investment. One size does not fit all in RFID.