The RFID business continues to grow. The global RFID market is anticipated to continue to grow in 2023, with IDTechEx projecting a market value of US$14 billion in 2023, up from US$12.8 billion in 2022. This market value comprises of RFID labels, cards, fobs, and other form factors, as well as tags, scanners, and software/services for inactive and active
“Passive RFID Tags” segment accounts for more than half of the total RFID market. According to the IDTechEx analysis “RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2023-2033”, 39.3 billion passive RFID tags will be sold in 2023, up from 33 billion in 2022, indicating a double-digit growth rate. Most of this growth is because of passive UHF RFID tags. However, UHF (RAIN) tag sales by value will be only 30% of HF tag sales (including NFC). This is primarily due to the higher price point of HF tags used for security (such as payments, access, etc.) versus the cheaper, largely disposable UHF (RAIN) tags used for tagging items.
Now let’s drill down into the mark trends in each type of passive RFID Tag market.
UHF (RAIN RFID): Retail apparel continues to dominate the UHF industry in terms of tag number and market size. IDTechEx forecasts that nearly 24 billion RFID labels will be used in retail apparel tagging by 2023. Although 24 billion may appear to be a big figure, it represents only 30% of the total addressable market for retail apparel alone. Despite the success of the retail apparel industry, another area that IDTechEx anticipates seeing strong growth in is tagging other retail products such as electronics, soft furnishings, home appliances, and so on. According to primary information gathered by IDTechEx through various interviews, Walmart’s mandate is a major driving factor for it. In addition to the retail industry, the supply chain and logistics industry has also received solid interest and investment and is growing steadily.
HF (incl. NFC): In the HF sector, contactless card sales remain the strongest, with 3.1 billion cards forecasted to be demanded in 2023. These sales are primarily fuelled by contactless payment, transportation, and secure access applications. This trend will persist in the short- to medium term. However, it is expected that NFC capability in phones as well as the emergence of new technologies like face recognition systems, will have a negative impact on the contactless card market in the long run, according to IDTechEX.
LF: In the LF sector, animal tagging (such as pigs, lambs, and pets) continues to be significant since it is still a legal obligation in many more regions, with 771 million tags being used in this sector in 2023.
Although the RFID market continues to grow, there are still challenges to tackle. The global supply chain issue that began in 2021 is still present, though the negative impact is not as severe as it once was. Because of the global economic slowdown, certain sectors have cut back on purchasing more RFID tags, potentially slowing the growth rate. In addition to these, a fragmented ecosystem across many sectors is one important issue that has long existed and must be addressed to see widespread RFID adoption. Retail apparel tagging can be successful primarily due to the industry having a stable solution ecosystem. Finally, education, regulation, and cost reduction are all areas in which RFID players must continue to work.
IDTechEx has studied the RFID market for almost 20 years. The latest version of their RFID market research report, “RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2023-2033”, provides a comprehensive overview covering passive RFID (for UHF, HF, and LF frequencies), battery-assisted passive, active RFID, and chinless RFID technologies, players, and markets. The report presents an unbiased analysis of primary data gathered through interviews with key players throughout the value chain (many of whom supply data to us under non-disclosure agreements that allow us to aggregate the data into a total) as well as secondary data from all available sources, and it builds on IDTechEx’s expertise in the RFID industry. This report gives extensive forecasts and depth that no other source can match.
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