Worldwide mobile robot hardware revenues will surge from $1.1 billion in 2017 to more than $7 billion in 2022, propelled by the growing e-commerce sector, mass personalization of goods, and a shortage of low-cost labor, according to a British research report.
The forecast includes sales and leasing revenues of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), according to the report from the market research firm Interact Analysis. Sales of related software products will add another $3 billion to that total, the firm said.
While AGVs have been around for decades, demand for them and the newer AMR category has "exploded" in recent years, Ash Sharma, research director at Interact Analysis, said in the report, "The Mobile Robot Market in 2022-Our Predictions."
Much of that strong growth has come from the logistics sector, which is the fastest-growing vertical market for mobile robots, the report found. Hardware revenue in the logistics sector alone will account for $3 billion of the 2022 total forecast, as e-commerce and omnichannel retailers turn to automation in their effort to catch up with the delivery capabilities of Amazon.com Inc., Interact Analysis said.
One category of expected strong demand is mobile robots with mounted arms, a sector which has seen very few shipments to date, but "could be used to revolutionize warehouse picking and material handling" with fast growth from 2020 onwards, the firm said.
The manufacturing sector has also generated strong revenue for robots in recent years, led by the automotive industry. However, that sector is now forecast to grow nearly 75 percent in 2018, surpassing $3 billion in 2022. Growth will be fueled by companies pushing automation beyond the production lines in an effort to reduce manual material handling, the firm said.