Despite the weakened state of the world economy RFID markets are not contracting, according to the latest data from ABI Research. At worst they are growing at a slower rate. Positive signs are beginning to appear and forecasts suggest that even with the ailing automotive vertical included, the RFID market should see 11-percent growth between 2009 and 2010. Without the automotive immobilizer numbers, the growth rate jumps to almost 16 percent.
"Transponders, readers, software, and services are all showing healthy growth,” said Practice Director Michael Liard. “The most robust applications include contactless ticketing, contactless payments (particularly in North America and Europe), item-level tracking in fashion apparel and footwear, asset management (not only corporate assets, but also returnable transport items, tools/parts, and work-in-process), baggage handling, real-time location systems (RTLS), and electronic identification documents.”
While the last-mentioned application, e-ID documents, showed some decline in 2008 to 2009 as a result of the winding down of China's national ID card program, the sector is expected to rebound in 2010 due to increased numbers of passports being issued by dozens of national governments. Other high-profile government e-ID initiatives include border crossing cards, RFID-enabled driver's licenses, and electronic vehicle registration (EVR).
Retail is looking forward to a boom in contactless payment cards in the US, to be followed soon afterwards by Europe.
Meanwhile asset tagging will show strong uptake particularly in corporate finance and banking, healthcare, and manufacturing environments, as well as in new areas such as energy, utilities and gaming, and with continuing expansion in traditional rental asset management (library books, media, laundry, for example.)
"Based on sales growth pipeline conversations, our end user research, and RFID revenues reported to ABI, 2009 will likely not be as bad as many thought,” said Liard. “Key economic and industry indicators point to stronger growth in 2010, especially the second half.”