Worldwide robotics spending to double by 2020, predicts IDC

Worldwide robotics spending to double by 2020, predicts IDC
Consumer, healthcare and retail sectors will record the fastest growth over the forecast period

Rebecca Gibson |

Worldwide spending on robotics and related services will more than double from US$91.5 billion in 2016 to hit more than US$188 billion in 2020, predicts IDC.

The Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide showed that more than half of all robotics spending came from the discrete manufacturing (31%) and process manufacturing (28%) sectors in 2016. Both industries are expected to invest a total of US$110 million in robotics in 2020. The leading robotics use cases in discrete manufacturing will continue to be assembly, welding and painting, while mixing will be the leading use case in process manufacturing.

After manufacturing, the three industries with the largest robotics spending in 2016 were resource industries (US$8 billion), consumer (US$6.5 billion), and healthcare (US$4.5 billion). IDC expects these industries will maintain their relative positions by throughout the forecast period, but consumer spending will significantly narrow the gap with resource industries by 2020.

Consumer, healthcare and retail sectors will record the fastest growth over the forecast period. Meanwhile, cross-industry robotics spending on tasks such as warehouse pick-and-pack will rank among the top segments.

“Robotics is now an integral part of industry transformation, which has brought about significant improvement in operational agility and efficiency in both developed and emerging markets,” said Jing Bing Zhang, research director for Robotics at IDC Manufacturing Insights. “We are seeing faster growth of robotics adoption in general industry roles, and some of the leading suppliers we tracked have enjoyed compound annual growth rates of more than double that for automotive industry for the past few years.”

In 2016, investments in consumer, industrial and service robots, and after-market robotic hardware totalled more than US$40 billion. Services-related spending, which encompassed applications management, education and training, hardware deployment, systems integration and consulting, came to over US$20 billion. The fastest growing segments of robotics spending are drones and after-market drone hardware, which will grow to nearly US$20 billion in 2020.

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.

“The market for robotics continues to experience tremendous growth,” said John Santagate, research manager for Supply Chain at IDC Manufacturing Insights. “This growth is really fuelled 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.”

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