The World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report shows a record of 3 million industrial robots operating in factories around the world, growing 10% year over year. Sales of new robots grew slightly at 0.5% despite the global pandemic, with 384,000 units shipped globally in 2020. This trend was dominated by the positive market developments in China, compensating the contractions of other markets. From 2021 to 2024, average annual growth rates in the medium single-digit range are expected. Annual installations of industrial robotics worldwide are expected to reach over 500,000 units in 2024. Localisation and regionalisation of supply chains will make the industry more resilient from both logistics and politics perspectives, especially the US, China and Taiwan political tensions. Robot-as-a-Service and Pay-as-you-use models will reduce the total costs of ownership. Advancements in adjacent technologies, such as cloud computing, new machine vision and AI will further expand the range of industrial robot applications. Service robots, the segment grew even stronger than industrial ones. In 2020, annual installations of professional service robots were 131,800 units with 41% YoY growth, while annual installations of consumer service robots were 19 million units with 6% YoY growth. Top application trends included autonomous mobile robot, delivery, cleaning, disinfection, medical, rehabilitation and social robots, and automated restaurant. 80% of service robot suppliers are small-medium sized enterprises, who are passionate about bringing robots to the open world. IFR expects there will be more discussion on the cyber security and privacy issues.
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