RFID in 2008 - Where is the Action?
May 01, 2008 Raghu Das
IDTechEx forecasts a $5.29 billion RFID market in 2008 up 7.3% on $4.93 billion in 2007 despite a sharp reduction of deliveries against the world largest RFID project, the $6 billion China national ID card scheme, now largely completed in preparation for the Olympics. Perhaps 263 million such cards will be delivered in 2008 versus 300 million in 2007 but there will be a collapse in income from associated card infrastructure because it is largely in place now. China has nothing as grandiose to replace this. Indeed, its huge city card schemes for up to 18 million people at a time are also largely complete, so it will drop from being the world's sole, largest RFID market, with 40% share in 2007, to sharing the top slot with the USA, both having $1.3 billion ie 24.6% share.
Very different activities
These leading nations will continue to have very different RFID activities, with the Chinese market dominated by city payment cards, library book tagging (more than the rest of the world combined) and the national ID card scheme whereas the USA will be primarily served by passports, secure access, military, heavy logistics and non-stop road tolling. Indeed, just three companies may share over half of the US market in 2008 - Assa Abloy (secure access), Savi Technology (military and heavy logistics) and ACS (road tolling).
Pecking order of other countries stays largely the same
The relative position of other countries is substantially staying the same, though ever more countries are involved. That is reflected in the world's largest database of RFID projects, the IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase. This has expanded from 102 countries to 105 since the beginning of 2008 and the number of case studies has shot past 3200. If the number of projects represents seeds being sown for the future then China is leaping up in that pecking order, from number seven one year ago to number three today. IDTechEx believes that the territorial distribution of RFID sales, as opposed to projects, in 2008 will be as shown below.
2008 RFID market by region
2008 RFID market by country
Projects by country
IDTechEx Chairman Dr Peter Harrop says, "Europe is an interesting territory for RFID. So far, it lacks the huge orders in the USA, with two $0.5 billion projects currently being serviced there, and in China with the huge card and library schemes. However, it is advancing on a very broad front. Its recent enlargement with many new countries, has delayed the livestock RFID laws by two years but that compares with no prospect of laws to RFID tag livestock in the USA. In Europe, that has delayed a $0.6 billion market on the back of those laws but expansion of Europe is ultimately creating a huge market for RFID in general."
He continues, "Meanwhile, Italy, for example, from doing virtually nothing beyond the postal service, now has well over 50 RFID projects on the go and other European countries are also strongly increasing their activity. If the UK national ID card scheme goes ahead at $10 billion it will even set a world record for RFID".