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However, companies must consider their positioning as many new players enter the market while the value chain consolidates, according to IDTechEx Research in its "RFID Forecasts, Players, Opportunities 2016-2026" report.
Thirty-eight percent of the 2015 market value is for the tags themselves -- totaling 9.1 billion tags being sold in 2015, up from 7.8 billion tags in 2014. That is across all the main RFID frequencies, and for passive and active RFID.
A significant part of that growth is attributed to the growing implementation of passive UHF RFID tags (also now known as RAIN RFID, the alliance set-up last year to promote the technology). UHF RFID is being widely adopted for tagging apparel, with 3.75 billion tags used for that application alone in 2015 versus 3 billion in 2014. In 2015, that represents less than 15 percent of the total addressable market for retail apparel which is but one of many applications.
For shorter range HF RFID, business is growing as banks move to secure RFID cards enabling contactless payment – with just under 2 billion being sold for that and other contactless card applications in 2015. NFC is part of HF RFID, too, being backwardly compatible with other HF RFID standards. In 2015, NFC tag sales, excluding payment and personal ID applications, will amount to 230 million units, used in applications such as tagging computer game figures and setting up Bluetooth pairing of consumer electronic devices. In RFID niche markets can be large by volume and highly profitable.
So, the numbers are buoyant and smiles are all around. However, the continued growth has resulted in many new entrants and companies are having to carefully consider their positioning in order to be best placed as the business grows.
Tag and reader hardware companies are staking claims in software platform offerings – some half-heartedly, others more robustly, trying to face the challenge of moving from a horizontal product offering into software which, at an application level, often needs to be built with the vertical application needs in mind. Despite the growth there are still only a handful of companies with more than $100m in RFID sales, but several moving into that category. There is much to play for, and much opportunity to loose too for those ill positioned.
Source: IDTEchEx Research
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