Acceleration in projected growth of global robotics industry

In 2016, International Data Corporation (IDC) has identified robotics as one of six Innovation Accelerators that will drive digital transformation by opening new revenue streams and changing the way work is performed. IDC forecasted global spending on robotics and related services to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% from more than $71 billion in 2015 to $135.4 billion in 2019.

In 2017, IDC projected world robotics industry growing from $91.5 billion in 2016 to more than $188 billion in 2020.

2016  91 billion
2017 109
2018 131
2019 157
2020 188

2019 is projected to be 16% higher than the prior year projection.
The projected annual growth rate in robotics has increased from 17% to 20%.

The new spending guide measures purchases of robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and after-market robotics hardware on a regional level across thirteen key industries and fifty-two use cases.

“The market for robotics continues to experience tremendous growth,” said John Santagate, research manager, Supply Chain at IDC Manufacturing Insights. “This growth is really fueled by a combination of technology improvements, expanded use cases, and acceptance in the market. Innovators in the field of robotics are delivering robots that can be used to perform a broader range of tasks, which is helping to drive the adoption of robotics into a wider base of industries.”

More than half of all robotics spending comes from the manufacturing with Discrete Manufacturing delivering 31% and Process Manufacturing providing 28% of the worldwide total in 2016. This situation will remain relatively unchanged throughout the forecast with the two industries investing nearly $110 billion in robotics in 2020. The leading robotics use case in Discrete Manufacturing is assembly, welding and painting, while mixing is the leading use case in Process Manufacturing.

After manufacturing, the three industries with the largest robotics spending in 2016 were Resource Industries ($8.0 billion), Consumer ($6.5 billion), and Healthcare ($4.5 billion). These industries will maintain their relative positions throughout the forecast, although Consumer spending will significantly narrow the gap with Resource Industries by 2020. Cross Industry robotics spending, which represents use cases common to all industries, such as warehouse pick and pack, will also rank among the top segments throughout the five-year forecast. The industries that will experience the fastest growth over the 2015-2020 forecast period are Consumer, Healthcare, and Retail.

From a technology perspective, purchases of robotics systems, which includes consumer, industrial, and service robots, and after-market robotic hardware will total more than $40 billion in 2016. Services-related spending, which encompasses applications management, education & training, hardware deployment, systems integration, and consulting, will come to more than $20 billion in 2016. The fastest growing segments of robotics spending are drones and after-market drone hardware, which will grow to nearly $20 billion in 2020.

On a geographic basis, the Asia/Pacific region, including Japan, will account for more than two thirds of total robotics spending throughout the forecast. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) is the second largest region with expenditures of $14.7 billion in 2016, followed by the Americas with a 2016 spending total of $12.9 billion. Robotics spending will more than double in Asia/Pacific over the 2015-2020 forecast period, making it the fastest growing region followed by the Americas, which will edge ahead of EMEA in total spending by 2018.

IDC Asia/Pacific reports that China spending on robotics and related services will more than double, growing from $24.6 billion in 2016 to $59.4 billion in 2020.

China is the single largest and the fastest growing robotics market in the world, and will account for more than 30% of the worldwide robotics spending in 2020. Manufacturing continues to dominate China spending in robotics, with discrete and process manufacturing accounting for over 50% of spending in 2016.

With “Made in China 2025” (China industrial plan), China is aiming to become one of the top technological industrial nations within just a few years. However, in order to achieve Beijing’s target of a robot density of 150 units by 2020, some 600,000 to 650,000 new industrial robots will have to be installed throughout China. By comparison: Around 254,000 units were sold in the global market during 2015.

If China were to become a top ten country in industrial robot density in 2025 then they would need about 13-15 million robots (if they maintained the 100 million manufacturing workforce). If the manufacturing workforce were halved to 50 million then China would need 7 to 10 million robots by 2025.

Those levels will require doubling the industrial robots every 2.5 years for the lower number. This would be about 34% annual growth in robots..

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