CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
February 25, 2020
Forward Thinking

Report: Spending on robotics systems, drones to rise 17% this year

Forecast calls for double-digit spending increases in both categories through 2023, with robotics systems dominating the outlook, IDC research says.

Worldwide spending on robotics systems and drones will reach $128.7 billion, a 17% increase over 2019, according to research from IDC, released this week.

The market research company said its newest Worldwide Robotics and Drones Spending Guide indicates the segment will reach $241.4 billion by 2023, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 20%. Robotics systems will be the larger of the two categories, with hardware purchases dominating the segment; 60% of all spending will go toward robotic systems, after-market robotics hardware, and system hardware, the researcher said. Robotics-related software spending will mostly go toward purchases of command and control applications and robotics-specific applications. Services spending will be spread across several segments, the authors said, including systems integration, application management, and hardware deployment and support. 

Wholesale, retail, and construction industries will see the fastest growth in robotics systems spending, and "pick and pack" will be among the leading use cases, the authors said. Overall, discrete manufacturing will be responsible for nearly half of all robotics systems spending worldwide this year, generating $53.8 billion in revenues. Process manufacturing, resource industries, healthcare, and retail are the next-largest overall spending segments.

Spending on drones will total $16.3 billion in 2020 but is forecast to grow at a faster rate (33.3% CAGR) than robotics systems (17.8% CAGR). Drone spending will also be dominated by hardware purchases, with more than 90% of the category total going toward consumer drones, after-market sensors, and service drones in 2020, the authors said.

By region, China leads the way in both categories and is forecast to spend $46.9 billion on robotics systems and drones in 2020. Asia/Pacific is set to be the second-largest region, with $25.1 billion in spending, followed by the United States ($17.5 billion), and Western Europe ($14.4 billion). 

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