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UHF RFID market will top $3B by 2020

The market for UHF RFID tags, readers and infrastructure will grow to more than $3 billion by 2020, driven by increased adoption in retail apparel and other applications. The forecast was provided by Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, during the recent meeting of the RAIN RFID Alliance in Portland, Ore.

The meeting was hosted by Intel, one of the group’s original founders along with Impinj, Google and Smartrac.

Chart courtesy of IDTechEx

During his presentation, Das indicated that the total market size for all frequencies of RFID in 2015 will approach $9.5 billion. He expects the total market to be valued at more than $14 billion by 2020, with UHF RFID accounting for half of the growth in the total market between now and 2020. Das says that 34 billion RFID tags (33 billion passive) have been sold since RFID began seeing limited use in 1943, with 7.5 billion consumed in 2014.

Apparel tagging, which represents about 80 percent of market volume for passive RFID tags in 2015, will continue to see explosive growth. However, expansion into sectors such as asset management and logistics will shrink apparel’s share of the market to about 60 percent by 2018. In addition, retailers have already started to tag other product lines such as home goods, electronics and cosmetics.

According to IDTechEx, 2.2 billion passive tags were used in retail apparel in 2013. That number grew to three billion in 2014 and 3.75 billion last year. Cumulatively, 9.2 billion RFID tags have been sold in the retail market for use in item level tagging and CPG case and pallet tagging. Nearly two million tags have been consumed by the manufacturing sector. By comparison, 560 million tags have been used for passport and secure document storage, while drugs and healthcare have consumed 400 million tags.

The growth in apparel retail is well documented and is paying strong dividends. During his presentation at the RAIN event, Danny Haak, of RFID solutions provider Nedap Retail, noted that retail brands with inventory accuracy of 98 percent generally see a five percent uptick in sales.

RAIN, which was formed in April of 2014, has grown to include 80 members. The group’s next meeting will be held in Seoul from Oct 26-30, 2015. The event will be hosted by Hanmi IT and will include a tour of the firm’s facilities.

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