Steady growth projected for world operator terminal market

IHS forecasts steady growth for the world operator terminal market from 2016 to 2019 after a slowdown in 2015.

By Rita Liu, IHS April 5, 2016

The world operator terminal market is estimated to have been worth $2.4 billion in 2014, according to the latest 2016 report on operator terminals from IHS Technology; IHS forecasts it to grow to $2.9 billion in 2019, which is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5%. IHS has revised down the forecast for all regions in this edition, because of the pressure from a slowing economy, weak commodity prices, and still very low oil prices. Generally, the growth of this market is forecast to decelerate in 2015 but gradually pick up from the end of 2016, with more investment projected for process industries and more use of industrial PCs in applications outside the traditional ones in industrial automation.


Regional market performance

Looking at the regional markets for operator terminals in 2014, IHS estimated that the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market was the largest, accounting for 37.9% of the global total, followed by Asia Pacific (24.8%), the Americas (24.4%), and last, Japan (12.9%).

In terms of growth rate, though Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil, are struggling against recession, the American market is forecast to grow the fastest, driven by the continual improvement of the U.S. economy. IHS forecasts it to surpass the Asia Pacific market in 2016. Unlike in the past, the Asia-Pacific market has slowed down to have the second-fastest growth, which is mainly due to the slowdown in the Chinese economy. India is forecast to have the fastest growth in the region. Japan remained the smallest and the slowest growing regional market, with its economy struggling with disappointing exports in recent years as the world economy has faltered. 

Downstream industry performance

The performance of the operator terminal market depends largely on the underlying growth in the industries that use them. Automotive; food, beverage, and tobacco machinery; and packaging machinery were the three largest discrete sector markets in 2014, with estimated combined revenues of nearly $650 million.

Though the robotics sector is estimated to have been the fourth smallest market, it is forecast to grow the fastest, with a revenue CAGR of 10.3% from 2014 to 2019. With more focus on smart factories and safe production, robots are widely used in the automotive manufacturing, electrical, and electronics industries as well as many other fast-growing industrial production industries. The chemical and pharmaceutical sector is forecast to grow the second-fastest, with a CAGR of 5.6% from 2014 to 2019, partly because of lower oil prices that have reduced material costs in this sector.

On the other hand, mining is forecast to perform the worst across all industry sectors with a revenue CAGR of -1.7% from 2014 to 2019. Other process industry sectors follow, with a revenue CAGR of -1.4%, mainly dragged down by the declining oil and gas industry.

Rita Liu is analyst for manufacturing technology at IHS Inc., a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media,