On 1st February 2017, Research and Markets, a leading market-research company, reported that the electronic shelf label (ESL) market is forecast to reach US$528 million by 2022 up from US$240 million in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 14.0% over the forecast period. They attribute this to a rising number of retailers who are now prepared to invest in this technology.

However, this kind of technology has been around for over 15 years, so why is it only now that we are seeing global take-up?  We have identified two factors:

  1. Up until now, the technology simply hasn’t delivered on its promise:

The benefits of electronic shelf-edge labels are clear. They are all designed to help the retailer smooth operations and reduce costs. These labels help retailers to change the product prices remotely, leading to increased business process efficiency.  However, it is only in the last few years that the technology has evolved sufficiently to truly deliver an accurate and easy-to-use system that meets all the needs of the retailers.

Before, electronic shelf edge labels offered limited viewing angles and image resolution, monochrome displays, poor battery life and once installed were difficult to keep track of.  SFD System’s recently launched electronic shelf labels deliver a step-change in performance:  Now, retailers can enjoy digital displays with full-colour technology, 180 degree viewing angles and the ability to show either static information or animation and videos. They are easy to install and programme and can be moved from one shelf to another in a simple ‘pick up and click in’ shelf design.

  1. The retail revolution is now biting hard:

In the face of increasing online competition and fundamental changes in consumer behavior, bricks and mortar retailers must adapt and find new ways to compete with their digital counterparts.  Electronic shelf-edge label solutions such as SFD Systems’digital shelf edge enable retailers to improve the store experience and deliver innovative and online-competitive pricing and promotions.

Feedback from retailers suggests that Research and Markets’ forecasts are probably conservative.  Retail bosses have always been interested in the benefits of ESL, but it’s only now, with the introduction of innovative and modern systems that are visually stunning, easy to install and operate that many are prepared to invest so we can see electronic shelf-edge labels become part of our everyday shopping experience.

Retailers are now ready to join the digital era and we are proud to be a company that is helping them to do so – shelf-edge by shelf-edge!