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ABI Research: Item level retail tagging will drive double-digit growth for RFID in 2011

Massive deployment of RFID technology within the retail sector will drive double-digit revenue gains in the RFID sector next year, according to a new research report from ABI Research.

ABI Research sees continuing strong growth potential in RFID markets worldwide and forecasts a total market size of about $4.6 billion by the end of this year for RFID systems (hardware, software, and services). The total reaches $5.5 billion when hardware-only shipments to support automobile immobilization are included.

By the end of 2011, global RFID system markets (excluding immobilization) are expected to amount to almost $5.3 billion, a year-over-year growth in excess of 16 percent. RFID systems software revenue will outpace that from services, transponders and readers. When automobile immobilization is included the total market size is approximately $6.2 billion, representing 13 percent growth next year.

“Item-level apparel tracking is probably the biggest area to watch in 2010-2011 and beyond,” says Mike Liard, RFID practice director for ABI, “especially due to Wal-Mart’s ‘jeans and basics’ tagging announcement.” Liard notes that JCPenney, Marks & Spencer, and American Apparel, among others, remain key retailers to watch given their existing programs and deployment plans.

Here’s a quick look at some of the other major points found in the new ABI RFID Market Data report.

Asset tracking and management: Asset tracking and management applications continue to gain momentum in verticals including healthcare, manufacturing (particularly the aerospace and defense sector), transportation and logistics.

An explosion in passive UHF transponders: According to Liard, “ABI Research expects to see a CAGR of 74 percent in passive UHF transponders from 2010 to 2014 thanks to burgeoning demand within key applications such as retail apparel tagging and asset management.”

Regional performers shine: The “Rest of World” region, which includes the Middle East, Latin America, South Africa and others, currently comprises only 7 percent of the overall RFID market but it is expected to adopt RFID solutions faster than any of the more industrialized regions. This is due to increased focus on using RFID in the Middle East in the oil and gas space and for construction; in Latin America for animal ID, food safety, and retail; and in South Africa for RTI, among others.

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