Even in the digital transformation era, there a few technology-related domains that can praise market doubling in a little as five years. That’s the case of industrial robotics, a global business that is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 14% by 2021 according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). In 2017 more than 380 thousand robots were sold worldwide, about 30% more than in 2016 and more than double of 2012. The market would be valued 62 billion dollars by 2024.
How many industrial robots are operating around the world? They should be around 2 million and, despite the number is not yet huge, it’s quite surprising that they are significantly contributing to industrial progress in a variety of fields, from manufacturing to logistics.
China is the largest market with a 36% share, but do consider that robot density is quite limited at the moment: there are about 97 robots every 10 thousand humans. Good news, most technology and related software implemented in China comes from Western companies, specifically European automation experts. Apart from Asia, the US is a fast-growing market too, while Europe is keeping pace with a 10% annual growth of installed robots.
Industry analysts are also very optimistic about the so-called ‘service robots’. These specific machines are not being used in industrial environments, but support humans in different applications. Think of logistics, where unmanned autonomous vehicles are being used in warehouses and retail facilities, or defence, where drone-based systems are being adopted for remote surveillance or borders controlling. Agriculture is a promising destination market too, with robots to support farmers in sowing and harvesting operations, as well as in breeding and milking cattle. Service robot sales grew 85% in 2017, and are predicted to maintain formidable development rates in the next five years.
Home robots are also being more and more requested. From smart butlers to elderly people assistants, we have become used to host an intelligent machine in our house, and have it as a companion for household activities.