Worldwide RFID sales will increase 5 percent in 2009 to $5.56 billion despite the global economic downturn, according to a forecast by IDTechEx, an international market research and consulting firm.
The firm said sales of RFID tags, readers and software/services for RFID cards, labels, and other products and services are growing even amid the widespread reduction in inventory and shipping.
The report said many segments of the industry are growing at an annual rate of more than 10 percent.
The overall growth rate will be affected, nevertheless, by softness in some major markets and the completion of the Chinese national ID card program, which has been responsible for billions of dollars in RFID revenue in recent years. Despite the completion of the Chinese ID card program, public sector spending is still a significant source of RFID revenue, the report said.
Retailers will use about 225 million RFID tags on pallets and cases in response to mandates by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, mostly in the U.S.
Despite widespread criticism of the way Wal-Mart managed its mandate, the report forecasts a further "take off" in retail use of RFID outside formal mandates by retailers. For example, Marks & Spencer and American Apparel will use 200 million RFID tags on apparel during 2009. An additional 350 million tags will be used in the form of transit tickets, such as on toll roads. Overall, 2.35 billion RFID tags will be sold in 2009 compared with 1.97 billion in 2008.
A growing number of local governments, including some in China, Australia and New Zealand, have made it mandatory to use RFID systems to track animals such as pigs, cattle and sheep. For example, New Zealand, by law, requires all dogs to be tagged with RFID; Australia requires 35 million head of cattle to be tracked. The report forecasts 105 million tags in this sector in 2009.
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