The global electronic shelf label market size was valued at USD 975 million in 2021 and is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 3740 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 16.1% during the forecast period (2022 – 2030). Retailers use electronic shelf labels (ESLs), a dynamic display system, to display product information in physical stores. Using low-power radio frequency (RF), this system sends the product information updated to the central server through the gateway. In the world, shelf labels, an emerging technology that can replace paper labels and is changed automatically every week, are expanding quickly. It also provides flexibility to make quick price adjustments. Additionally, every electronic shelf label (ESL) system has an LCD or E-ink display that displays the product's price and UPC.
The market for electronic shelf labels is expanding due to the retail industry's trend toward automation. Additionally, the demand for less time-consuming, more cost-effective alternatives to paper labels drives the market's expansion. Further, the market expanded due to improved operational efficiency and real-time product positioning brought about by electronic shelf labels. High installation and infrastructure costs, however, limit market expansion. The market for electronic shelf labels is also anticipated to experience slow growth due to low return on investment.
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Change in Trends in Retail Automation
Retail automation is a collection of automated procedures for managing various aspects of the retail industry, including product management, workforce management, inventory management, store audits, etc. Retailers have significantly benefited from the technological revolution of automation in the sector. Additionally, electronic shelf labels are being adopted by all retail establishments, including supermarkets, hypermarkets, specialty shops, and non-food establishments. Additionally, installing this system in a retail location offers a dynamic pricing solution, which lowers labor input by eliminating manual tasks.
The Surge in Purchasing Power of Consumers and Economic Growth
The rise in digital transformation among various industries globally positively impacts the nation’s economic growth, as the increase in these transformations brings revolutionary changes in business operations. In addition, automation in retail is expected to play a significant role in transforming economic growth owing to factors such as a rise in consumer purchasing power, an increase in the efficiency of the retailing supply chain, and smart logistic management. Also, the need to improve customer experience is driving the adoption of technological advancements in the retail industry. Such factors contribute to driving the growth of the electronic shelf label market.
High Expenditure Required for Installation of ESL and Supportive Infrastructure
Automation has a high return on investment, but it takes a long time to start seeing a profit. As a result, retailers with tight migration budgets are taking longer to adopt full automation solutions, which is predicted to slow the market's expansion. Additionally, unorganized retailers may find the cost of deploying electronic shelf label (ESL) technology prohibitive. The development of retail stores necessitates the installation of more shelves, and the retailer must allot one ESL tag to each shelf. The cost of installation for each electronic shelf consequently goes up. Moreover, advanced automation approaches give rise to technological complexity that involves high-risk implementation, significant investments, transformation projects, and prolonged payback periods, which are major factors expected to restrain the growth of the ESL market.
Growth Potential of E-Paper Technology in Untapped Markets
The potential of electronic shelf label technology is vast, and as it is gaining maturity in development, it is expected to revolutionize the retail sector. The application of E-Paper is not restricted only to electronic shelf labels. Still, it can be incorporated in several other ways, such as smart watches, wearable electronics, digital sign boards, flexible displays embedded in smart cards, and status display bars on electronic products. It could be used to label anything from shelves to office binders and electronic billboards, in addition to a new method for labeling foods & drugs.
The global electronic shelf label market share is segmented based on product type, component, communication technology, store type, and region.
Based on product type, the global market is categorized into LCD, segmented E-Paper, and full-graphic E-paper. The LCD segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.6% during the forecast period. The traditional electronic shelf used liquid crystal displays (LCD), which were power intensive. Using these displays in ESL is one of the new trends in the display market. Addition of more color patterns and features are being incorporated into the e-paper-based ESLs. Such factors drive segment growth.
The segmented e-paper segment is the second largest. Promoting the digitalization of everything to save paper, thereby saving trees and water used in paper manufacturing, reducing consumed power, and cost-effectiveness in infrastructures are some of the focus areas in the current scenario. Electronic paper display technology helps to reach this goal by saving significant energy by consuming about 1% of the power compared to LCD in applications such as signage, where the content is changed periodically rather than every second. Similarly, a huge amount of power can be saved in enterprise and retail applications by using e-paper displays. Hence, the increased application of segmented electronic paper display due to its energy savings drives its demand for electronic shelf labels and creates immense opportunities for the future.
By display size, the global market is categorized into less than 3 inch, 3 inch to 7 inch, 7 inch to 10 inch, and More than 10 inch. The less than 3-inch segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 15.6% during the forecast period. The prominent use of electronic shelf labels with sizes less than 3 inches is used by the apparel industry. These labels are compact and lightweight. Hence they are easy to attach to the apparel. The developments in the apparel industry, especially in developing countries and evolving retail sector, is estimated to boost the growth of electronic shelf labels during the forecast period. In addition, the apparel industry and local departmental stores also use these labels owing to their compactness.
The 3-inch to 7-inch segment is the second largest. The electronic shelf labels with sizes ranging from 3 to 7 inches occupy the largest market share as they can be used for numerous items mentioning a brief description of the product. The products may range from food items, groceries, stationery, and other household essentials. There is an increase in its adoption as these electronic shelf labels require less workforce and less time to display dynamic prices.
By component, the global market is divided into displays, batteries, transceivers, microprocessors, and others. The display segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.3% during the forecast period. Furthermore, display advancements are majorly getting consumers' attention to provide real-time results. Moreover, retailers are adopting labels developed using full-graphic E-Paper display, as these energy-efficient labels can project graphical objects like logos, callouts, and others.
Based on communication technology, the global electronic shelf label market is segmented into radio frequency, infrared, near-field communication, and others. The radio frequency segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 12.7% during the forecast period. Radiofrequency technology is witnessing prominent growth, owing to its ability to provide bidirectional communication. In ESL, it transmits pricing and product information and receives updates. Moreover, the growing application of radio frequency in other technologies, such as ZigBee, Z-Wave, and BLE, contributes to the increased demand for radio frequency in electronic labels.
Near field communication (NFC) segment is the second largest. Near-field communication (NFC) is an array of protocols based on a wireless interface that enables communication devices and electronic gadgets to establish radio communication with each other under proximity. Near-field communication technology is mainly used in smartphones, laptops, and tablets for a short range of data exchange (up to 10cm or less). An increase in smartphone penetration, convenient transfer and security of data, and a rise in the contactless/mobile payments market are the major growth drivers for the market. NFC tags are costly compared to Bluetooth and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, a limitation for the world near field communication (NFC) market. The NFC technology allows users to interact with other devices to access information. The NFC technology is designed to simplify learning, shopping, transferring, and sharing data. Thus, these factors collectively generate immense opportunity for the market.
By store type, the global market is classified into hypermarkets, supermarkets, non-food retail stores, specialty stores, and others. The hypermarket segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% during the forecast period. Digital technologies are significantly increasing their adoption in hypermarkets as they display information to help consumers better in-store navigation. This, in turn, is a significant factor expected to drive the growth of the global market. In addition, hypermarkets are facilitating automation solutions to provide consumers with an Omni-commerce experience, which is further expected to help consumers at a relatively high rate.
The supermarket segment is the second largest. The advent of IoT has driven the growth of automation in the retail industry. Supermarkets are witnessing high adoption of automation technologies and advanced consumer electronics. This is a significant factor expected to drive the market's growth during the forecast period. Moreover, the rise in the adoption of enhanced digital shelving systems among supermarkets is due to their ability to display promotions, dietary information, and other relevant data.
By region, the global electronic shelf label market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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Europe was the highest revenue contributor and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.3%. European Commission has started adopting consumer protection cooperation regulations. This regulation protects against scams and misleading product information and price. Also, major players in the retail industry are integrating advanced technologies to comply with stringent rules. For instance, Pricer, headquartered in Sweden, Europe, has launched an electronic shelf label (ESL) for retailers, incorporating infrared (IR) technology and providing automated price updating technology. This, in turn, is expected to offer lucrative opportunities for this region's electronic shelf-label market.
North America is the second largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 1075 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 15.4%. North America is one of the key contributors to the technology-driven markets. Being one of the fastest adaptors of technologies, the visible application of electronic paper display products has been predominantly seen in the major markets of North America. In addition, the industrial revolution in this region has created significant data evolution capabilities to be used in the production processes in supply chain management. This, in turn, provides immense potential for the electronic shelf-label market.
Asia-Pacific is the third largest region. The high growth of full graphic e-paper in this region, due to the rise in usage of display technology products in the retail sector, provides enhanced customer experience. In addition, the higher presence of retail giants with higher customer interest and easy availability of processing machinery further contribute to Asia-Pacific's electronic shelf label market growth. The non-food retail store also gains popularity and opportunities in this region. This, in turn, provides growth for the electronic shelf-label market during the forecast period.
The key players in the global electronic shelf label market include Pricer, SES-imagotag, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, E Ink Holdings, Displaydata Limited, Altieer Corporation, Diebold Nixdorf, Incorporation, Clearing Display, Panasonic Corporation, and NCR Corporation.