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The latest robotics market stats

The 28/02/2019

Get in on double-digit growth

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) is the primary global resource for data on robotics. While the worldwide figures on industrial robotics are considered to be accurate, those for service robotics are seen only as trend indicators and are often underestimated. Though service robotics is emerging in many sectors, particularly in smaller organizations, figures on the sector are on the whole little known and poorly assessed. This being said, public and private studies and recommendations abound in the robotics sphere at the national, regional and sector levels. World leaders announce their government’s policy on robotics, with roadmaps to back them up. Technological convergence must also be taken into account. In particular, national strategies on Artificial Intelligence and Web technologies impact the robotics ecosystem, as do innovation support programs.

Worldwide, in 2017, the industrial robotics market accounted for $16.2 billion and 381,335 units (an increase of 30% in volume and 21% in value) and $48 billion if we take into account the related services (including, of course, integration). Professional service robotics (BtoB) accounted for $6.6 billion and 109,500 units (up 85% in terms of volume and 39% in value). The Personal service robotics (BtoC) market is estimated at $1.6 billion in value and has shown 30% growth.

The world leaders in industrial robotics are Japan, China, South Korea, the USA and Germany. Europe’s major industrial robotics manufacturers are ABB (Sweden), Kuka (Germany > China), Universal Robots (Denmark > USA), Staubli (France > Switzerland) and Comau (Italy).

The top 4 sectors transformed by professional service robotics are logistics (69,000 units; $3.8 billion), medical robotics (2,900 units; $2.3 billion), “field robotics” including agricultural robotics ($1 billion, 7,200 units) and defense robotics ($0.9 billion, 12,000 units). Other sectors are rising fast, namely “Retail/Hospitality/Tourism” robots, as well as social interaction and intralogistics service robots. New forms of robotics are also hitting the market, in particular exoskeletons. While these sectors do have world leaders, the pace of innovation and quick maturing of technologies are great opportunities for new players. New features are appearing in response to needs expressed in industrial cleaning, construction, cyber-physical energy systems (smart grids) and other fields.

Personal robotics involves domestic robots (robot vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers) and leisure robots (drones, toys, and more). This market is emerging fast and the wave of IoT devices, voice assistants and immersive interfaces, as well as the lack of relevant applications (tablets on wheels), shroud its true potential. Growth on this market is tightly linked to the range of innovations on offer in terms of applications and uses.

Catherine Simon -

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