The global annual survey of the RFID industry undertaken by research firm IDTechEx shows that in 2019 the number of passive RFID tags sold will increase by 13% compared to 2018. The figure includes passive RFID tags across the three main frequencies used (RAIN, HF and LF). Of those three frequencies RAIN RFID will see the highest growth from 2018 to 2019 at 20% with HF RFID (including NFC) at 5% and LF at 2%.
Revenue growth for RAIN RFID from 2018 to 2019 is 15%, with a total market value for RAIN tags in 2019 expected to be $953m. HF (including NFC) 2019 tag revenue totals $3,842m, which includes non-label like devices such as contactless payment and transit cards.
In total, IDTechEx finds that the RFID industry including tags, readers, software and services will be $11.6bn in 2019 and will reach $15.2bn in 2024.
IDTechEx forecast that RAIN RFID tags will increase from 15 billion sold in 2019 (these are tag numbers: a higher number of RAIN ICs will be sold in a given year) rising to 41.2 billion RFID tags in 2024. Dominant applications include tagging apparel, airline baggage and the long tail of many companies reaping the benefits of an established, reliable technology in asset tracking across many different industries.
Several trends of note in 2019 include the availability of smaller RAIN ICs (more ICs can therefore fit on each silicon wafer, reducing the cost per IC); IC attach equipment to reliably handle these smaller ICs; dual frequency tags and improved security options.
NFC for payments continues to grow but NFC outside of payments, while growing, is at single digit growth rates from 2018 to 2019 as strong business cases demanding high volumes of NFC continue to be elusive.
However, HF RFID in 2019 has seen the first volume multi-million tag order for flexible ICs that do not use silicon ICs, targeted to ‘close loop’ applications.