It is that time of the year again when we close out conversations with barcode technology vendors –outlining market performance, channel partner dynamics, product development and adoption trends and their outlook for the future. 2012 was a mixed bag year for market participants. In this blog post, I highlight the top stories coming out of the barcode technology space in 2013.
1. Market Volatility – The challenging global macroeconomic environment is continuing to play a significant role in organizations’ overall performance and growth expectations. Our discussions indicate that the market is not recovering as well as initially expected, with some regions (such as Western Europe and parts of Asia-Pacific) relatively worse off than others. That said, however, the pipeline looks strong for the most part and vendors are cautiously optimistic about the second half of this year.
2. Technology Migration – The pace of migration from 1D scanners (particularly laser) to 2D imagers on the handheld side has taken practically everyone by surprise. What was expected to be a more gradual shift to camera-based scanning technology is turning into a massive infrastructure upheaval. VDC’s estimates indicate that from 2011 to 2012 revenues derived from:
- Laser scanners declined over 10%
- 2D imagers grew well over 30%
Vendors would do well to stay on top of this trend and enhance/broaden their product portfolios to protect their existing installed base and capitalize on emerging opportunities.
3. Pricing Pressures – Traditional market leaders are facing stiff competition from vendors based out of China, Taiwan and South Korea, and not just in their home markets. In this heavily commoditized space, price most certainly is one of the primary competitive differentiators. Vendors are eager to establish a strong local presence in developing economies to stave off growing competition.
4. Consumer Device Onslaught – End-user organizations are increasingly evaluating and even adopting consumer devices for enterprise operations. This has prompted vendors to take a step back and assess their product portfolios as they respond to this ongoing trend. Today, there are countless accessories (sleds/sleeves) and peripheral devices that can support enterprise-grade scanning and printing via these generic devices. The question on everyone’s mind is “Can consumer handhelds potentially negate the need for purpose-built barcoding solutions for low intensity customer-facing applications?”
Stay tuned to learn more as we publish reports on the barcode scanning and printing markets in the coming weeks.