A new study from The Freedonia Group predicts that US demand for smart labels will expand over 14 per cent annually through to 2007, approaching 11 billion units worth $460M. By 2012, demand will surpass 30 billion units, at over $1.2 billion. Smart labels will penetrate both existing and new labelling applications. Supply chain management applications will account for one-quarter of smart label demand, reaching 7.6 billion units by 2012.

The best gains are expected in the nascent RFID label segment, whose size will nearly triple each year from a small 2002 base. Initially, the best opportunities will exist in labelling of mail and packages, crates and pallets, airline baggage, library books, and military assets. Over the longer term, falling prices, greater economies of scale, technological advances and establishment of uniform RFID communications standards will support the development of additional market segments. However, consumer privacy concerns will remain a major hurdle, especially in the key retail segment.

Basic electronic article surveillance anti shoplifting labels will continue to dominate sales into the next decade. Opportunities will also be favourable for interactive packaging labels – both thermochromatics and other types are beginning to find broader use. For example, growth opportunities exist for time-temperature indicators and pharmaceutical compliance labels.



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