Industrial robot forecast remains positive despite recent headwinds

Despite troubles over the last few years with sluggish growth, particularly in the Americas, overall projections for the industrial robot market remain positive.

By Interact Analysis June 12, 2024
Courtesy: Interact Analysis

Industrial robotics insights

  • Industrial robot market long term growth forecast remains positive, with 3.7% average annual growth expected between 2024 and 2028.
  • Sales of industrial robots to the automotive segment faced significant pressure in 2023 resulting in sluggish growth, particularly in the Americas.
  • Industrial robot market growth trajectory in line with global manufacturing output figures.

Overall global industrial robot shipment volumes exceeded 500,000 units in 2023 according to Interact Analysis. This was a similar level to that seen in 2022 but the average price of industrial robots decreased last year. After a record high in 2021, 2023 reached a low point in terms of revenues and shipments but the long-term forecast remains positive. The global industrial robot market is expected to grow on average, by 3.7% per year between 2024 and 2028.

Industrial robot market expected to grow by ~3.7% per year between 2024 and 2028.

Industrial robot market expected to grow by ~3.7% per year between 2024 and 2028. Courtesy: Interact Analysis

Taking a look at the market by industry and region, sales of industrial robots to the automotive industry in the Americas faced significant pressure in 2023, resulting in sluggish growth for this segment of the market – one of the largest downstream industries for industrial robots in the region. Mexico in particular has high dependence on the automotive industry, therefore creating a greater impact on industrial robot sales in the region. On the whole, growth of industrial robots in the Americas plummeted by 17.3% in 2023; compared with APAC, which saw a slight increase in growth, and EMEA, which remained stable.

The American markets accounted for around 17% of global industrial robot revenues compared to 62% for APAC and 22% for EMEA. The industrial robot market enjoyed strong growth in the Americas during the immediate post-COVID period in both the automotive and non-automotive industries, where manufacturers were continually looking for ways to improve their production processes and reduce manufacturing costs by adopting the technology.

Material handling, welding and assembly are top three applications

The top three most common applications – material handling, welding and assembly – accounted for over 70% of industrial robot market revenues in 2023, with material handling accounting for one third on its own. This common application is particularly dominant in the Americas and Europe. The American market has the highest market concentration globally, where the top 5 suppliers shared nearly 80% of revenues and over 2/3 of unit shipments.

Maya Xiao, research manager at Interact Analysis, said, “The average price per unit of an industrial robot is on a downward trajectory, following a rise for two consecutive years, and we expect a price decline of around 3% per year between 2024 and 2028. The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with high energy prices and inflation caused an average price increase in 2022. We originally expected robot prices to decrease again in 2023, but ongoing supply chain and inflation issues resulted in prices creeping up to levels close to those seen in 2022. This increased “price effect” was also partially due to the market trend towards heavy payload robots, which are materially a more expensive product.

“It is important to note that our robotics forecasts are underpinned by the Interact Analysis Manufacturing Industry Output (MIO) Tracker. We can see from our data that the growth profile for industrial robots reflects the manufacturing slowdown during the pandemic era and the subsequent downturn in 2023. If we take a look at the manufacturing output figures for China, Europe and the Americas, the historic manufacturing contractions are synonymous with the decline in growth for the industrial robot market that we have observed in recent years.”

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