In the last few months, I've noticed that some items of clothing at Target have been tagged by means of printing rather than by attaching a separate piece of material. On some fabrics, it seems that all the information you'd expect to find on that irritating tag can be printed right onto the fabric. The printing is on the inside of the garment and doesn't show through to the outside.
Printing the tag information requires an additional piece of equipment in a sewing line, adding complexity. It's also necessary to supply and inventory the ink. The tradeoff is one less sewing operation, ordering and inventorying separate tag material for each brand produced in the factory, and ordering, inventorying and matching separate size tags for each garment variation. A printer can be designed for quick changeover from brand to brand, and size to size.
Seems to me that printing is leaner than applying tags. I doubt that Gucci or Armani will get rid of their tags anytime soon, but for lower-end brands where low cost and low price are imperative, the printing option looks like a good choice.