Growth Seen for Scanners, Imagers

Driven in part by manufacturing track-and-trace requirements, 2D imaging is likely to grow at a quickening pace, research firm says.

The global market for hand-held bar code scanners is projected to grow at an 8 percent compound annual rate over the next four years, totaling almost $974 million by the end of 2008, according to new research from Venture Development Corp (VDC), Natick, Mass.

VDC sees the strongest advance in shipments of two-dimensional imagers, which will grow at a 20.8 percent rate compounded annually during the four-year period. That will be followed by shipments of linear imagers, at 11 percent, and laser scanners at 6 percent, the research firm projects.

VDC cites several factors that are likely to contribute to higher adoption rates for imagers. Average factory selling prices will decrease at a 4.6 percent rate through 2008, the firm says, prompting system upgrades for users who in the past hesitated due to the significantly higher prices of imagers. The growing acceptance of 2D symbologies such as Data Matrix and MaxiCode, which require 2D imagers to read and process the codes, will also help boost sales, VDC says. Other drivers include the fact that imagers provide functionality beyond that of traditional laser scanners—such as supporting optical character recognition, signature capture and image capture.

“The bar code imager market, particularly 2D imaging, is positioned for strong growth over the next five years,” says VDC analyst Taylor Smith. He notes that several large accounts such as Fed Ex, UPS and the U.S Postal Service are heavily emphasizing imaging capability. Further, Smith adds, “an increasing number of manufacturing industries, such as automotive, aerospace, electronics and pharmaceutical are incorporating 2D direct part marking/coding applications for advanced product track-and-trace functionality.”

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