CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 21, 2018
Forward Thinking

Worldwide spending on robotics to reach more than $135 billion in three years

Robotics spending in process manufacturing and health care are each forecast to nearly double by 2019, says a new report from IDC.

The hottest growth industries for robotics include process manufacturing and health care, while Asia continues to dominate spending and growth expectations, says a new research report. And robotics is a hot growth area indeed: global spending on robotics and related services is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent, from more than US$71 billion in 2015 to $135.4 billion in 2019, according to "Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide, " a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC). The publication measures purchases of robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and aftermarket robotics hardware on a regional level across 13 key industries and outlines 52 usage cases.

IDC says it's not surprising that worldwide robotics spending is dominated by the discrete and process manufacturing industries, which represented 33.2 percent and 30.2 percent of total spending in 2015, respectively. Resource, health care, and the transportation industries are the next three largest commercial industries in terms of overall robotics spending. Process manufacturing and health care are two of the fastest growing industries, with worldwide spending in each forecast to nearly double by 2019, the report forecasts.

IDC has identified robotics as one of six "innovation accelerators" that it predicts will drive digital transformation by opening new revenue streams and changing the way work is performed.

"Robotics is one of the core technologies that is enabling significant change in manufacturing through 'factory of the future' initiatives. While traditionally used in the automotive industry, there is an increasing adoption of robotics in sectors like electronics, retail, health care, logistics, agriculture, services, education, and government," said Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director, Robotics, in a statement. "Such broad-based growth in robotic adoption is being driven by increasing labor costs, shortage of skilled labor, and an increasing emphasis on repeatable quality in conjunction with a reduction in prices of robotic systems and strategic national initiatives."

Worldwide spending on the robotics systems segment, which includes consumer, industrial, and service robots, is forecast to grow to nearly $32 billion in 2019, IDC predicts. However, researchers say, services-related spending, which encompasses applications management, education and training, hardware deployment, systems integration, and consulting, will grow to more than $32 billion in 2019, overtaking robotics systems and becoming both the largest and fastest-growing category of spending. The report further predicts that total spending on system hardware (servers and storage) and software (command and control, network infrastructure, and robotics-specific applications) will grow nearly as fast as services spending.

According to "Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide," the Asia/Pacific region including Japan accounts for more than 65 percent of total robotics spending throughout the 2015-2019 forecast period. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) is the second largest region with expenditures of $14.6 billion in 2015, followed by the Americas with 2015 spending totals of $9.7 billion. Robotics spending will nearly double in Asia/Pacific over the forecast period, making it the fastest growing region, followed by the Americas.

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