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Frost: Major Growth Ahead for RFID Printer Market

Research firm Frost & Sullivan has released a report with rosy demand predictions for RFID printer-encoders. Pegged at $10.7 million in 2005, the market for RFID printer-encoders will surge in value to $209.3 million in 2012 for a compounded annual growth rate of 53%.
Dec 11, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

December 11, 2006—Research firm Frost & Sullivan has released a report with rosy demand predictions for RFID printer-encoders. Pegged at $10.7 million in 2005, the market for RFID printer-encoders will surge in value to $209.3 million in 2012 for a compounded annual growth rate of 53%.

A number of factors will contribute to the growth, most notably the ever-increasing adoption of Gen2 RFID in supply chain applications. Within this broad wave of adoption, companies in so-called "slow adopter" vertical markets represent a particular area of opportunity for printer-encoder manufacturers. Such firms will seek the least disruptive means to RFID adoption, and the relatively affordable cost of doing in-house label production with an off-the-shelf RFID printer-encoder from, for example, Zebra, will likely prove an attractive option. (Aside from market leader Zebra, other notable players in the RFID printer-encoder market include Printronix, Sato, Paxar, Datamax, Avery Dennison, and Intermec.)

Expanding printer-encoder functionality is also contributing to market growth. Frost characterizes the automatic validation of encoded RFID tags as a "critical function". Automatic validation means that upon encoding a tag with data, the printer-encoder rereads it to ensure that the data was encoded correctly. (As an aside, this read functionality is performed by an embedded RFID reader "module", typically produced by a third-party reader manufacturer. Most people think of RFID readers only in terms of fixed or handheld, but reader modules represent a third form factor that represents an important, oft-overlooked business for reader companies.)

Software-based upgrades, which allow the capabilities of a printer-encoder to be upgraded without hardware modification, and wireless printing solutions, which enable mobility by allowing print jobs to be sent to the printer without a physical connection, are two other cited examples that are stimulating the usability of -- and demand for -- RFID printer-encoders.

Frost also forsees long-term geographical expansion of the market, which historically has been concentrated in North America. As RFID adoption is gradually pushed up the supply chain closer to the point of manufacture, markets will sprout in Asian manufacturing hubs.

Read the announcement from Frost & Sullivan
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