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IFR Forecasts that Industrial Robot Sales Should Increase by 12% p.a. in 2021

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

The International Federation of Robotics released their annual update on market trends. Their new World Robotics Report on industrial robotics shows that the number of units sold increased by 6% YoY in 2018, down from 31% YoY in 2017. The IFR also expects shipments to remain flat YoY in 2019, but on average to grow by 12% per annum from 2020 to 2022. The IFR has also reduced its forecasts for 2021 from 630,000 units to 522,000 units from last year, a noticeable 17% cut to their estimates. The US-China trade conflict ‘imposes great uncertainty’ on the global economy.

Asia is the world’s largest industrial robot market. In 2018, there was a mixed picture for the three largest Asian markets: installations in China and the Republic of Korea declined, while Japan increased by 22% YoY. In total, Asia grew by 1%. Robot installations in the second largest market, Europe, increased by 14% and reached a new peak for the sixth year in a row. In the Americas, the growth rate reached 20% more than the year before which also marks a new record level for the sixth year in a row.

The average world robot density increased from 74 to 99 units per 10,000 employees globally between 2016 and 2018. Five major industrial robot markets represent 74 percent of global installations in 2018: China, Japan, Republic of Korea, the United States and Germany.

The annual global sales value of USD 16.5 billion in 2018 is a projection from the IFR, based on market values reported by various national robotics associations. This encompasses only the robots. If software, peripherals, and systems engineering is included, the value is approximately USD 50 billion.

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