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10-22-2018

Industrial Robot Sales Doubled Over Past Five Years

Industrial Robot Report 2018 Published

The new World Robotics Report shows that a new record high of 381,000 units were shipped globally in 2017 – an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114 percent over the last five years (2013-2017). The sales value increased by 21% compared to 2016 to a new peak of 16.2 billion USD in 2017.

Global Industrial Robot Sales Doubled within Five Years

“Industrial robots are a crucial part of the progress of manufacturing industry,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Robots evolve with many cutting-edge technologies. They are vision recognition, skill learning, failure prediction utilizing AI, new concept of man-machine-collaboration plus easy programming and so on. They will help improve productivity of manufacturing and expand the field of robot application. The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 630,000 units.”

Top five markets in the world

There are five major markets representing 73 percent of the total sales volume in 2017: China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Germany.

China has significantly expanded its leading position with the strongest demand and a market share of 36 percent of the total supply in 2017. With sales of about 138,000 industrial
robots (2016-2017: +59%) China´s sales volume was higher than the total sales volume of Europe and the Americas combined (112,400 units). Foreign robot suppliers increased their sales by 72 percent to 103,200 units, including robots produced locally by international robot suppliers in China. This is the first time that foreign robot suppliers have a higher growth rate than the local manufacturers. The market share of the Chinese robot suppliers decreased from 31 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017.

  • Gobal industrial robot sales double over the past five years (© IFR)

    Gobal industrial robot sales double over the past five years (© IFR)

  • Robot Density by country 2017 (© IFR)

    Robot Density by country 2017 (© IFR)

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Commercial - the next slide will be displayed in seconds - skip

Japan´s manufacturers delivered 56% of the global supply in 2017. This makes Japan the world´s number one industrial robot manufacturer. The export rate increased by 45% (2016-2017). North America, China, the Republic of Korea, and Europe were target export destinations. Robot sales in Japan increased by 18 percent to 45,566 units, representing the second highest value ever witnessed for this country. A higher value was only recorded in the year 2000 with 46,986 units.

The manufacturing industry of the Republic of Korea has by far the highest robot density in the world – more than 8 times the global average amount. But in 2017, robot supplies decreased by 4% to 39,732 units. The main driver of this development was the electrical/electronics industry that reduced robot installations by 18 percent in 2017. The year before, industrial robot installations peaked at 41,373 units.

Robot installations in the United States continued to increase to a new peak in 2017 – for the seventh year in a row - and reached 33,192 units. This is 6% higher than in 2016. Since 2010, the driver of the growth in all manufacturing industries in the U.S. has been the ongoing trend to automate production in order to strengthen the U.S. industries in both domestic and global markets.

Germany is the fifth largest robot market in the world and number one in Europe. In 2017, the number of robots sold increased by 7% to 21,404 units - a new all-time record - compared to 2016 (20,074 units). Between 2014 and 2016, annual sales of industrial robots stagnated at around 20,000 units.

Robot Use by Industry Worldwide

The automotive industry remains the largest adopter of robots globally with a share of 33% of the total supply in 2017 - sales increased by 22%. In the future, automotive manufacturers will also invest in collaborative applications for final assembly and finishing tasks. Second tier automotive part suppliers, a large number of which are SMEs, are slower to automate fully but we can expect this to change as robots become smaller, more adaptable, easier to program, and less capital-intensive.

Other growth markets for the robotics sector are, according to the study, the electrical/electronics industry and the metal industry .

85 robot units per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries (2016: 74 units). By regions, the average robot density in Europe is 106 units, in the Americas 91, and in Asia 75 units.

Company profile

IFR International Federation of Robotics

Lyoner Straße 18
DE 60528 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 69 6603-1697
Fax: 69 6603-2697

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