Despite the 2008-2009 economic setbacks, the RFID market rebounded nicely in 2010, growing slightly more than 14 percent to reach roughly $5.3 B. When automobile immobilization hardware is extracted from the total, the market grew almost 18 percent, capturing nearly $4.4 B. ABI Research's ongoing research and data collection efforts reveal a projected total market size of nearly $6 B in 2011, reflecting slightly more than 11 percent growth. The 2011 forecast without automobile immobilization is $5 B, growing in excess of 14 percent over 2010.

ABI Research foresees variation in demand and the pace of adoption between applications, verticals, regions and technologies, with the retail apparel sector in particular displaying something of a slowdown in growth this year. However, the bottom line is that across the market as a whole, continued strong growth is expected.

"The fastest-growing application between now and 2016 will be item-level tracking in supply-chain management, which ABI Research estimates will exceed a 37 percent growth rate," notes Research Director Michael Liard.

"The fastest-growing verticals over our five-year forecast period (in descending order) will be retail CPG, retail in-store, healthcare and life sciences, diverse non-CPG manufacturing, and commercial services," says Liard.

More specifically, primary RFID applications can be broken down into "traditional" and "modernizing" types. The 2011-2016 CAGR for aggregated modernizing applications is expected to be double that of the traditional applications cluster.