Global sales of several varieties of robots reached $16.5 billion in 2018 with the electronics industry coming in second behind autos, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
However, all of 2019 will be flat compared to 2018, with a resurgence in again in 2020, according to a report in Robotics Business Review.
For industrial robots, there were 422,000 installed globally in 2018, which will drop to about 421,000 in 2019 and then surge ahead by 10% to 465,000 in 2020. Growth will be 12% annually, the World Robotics report indicated. In 2022, there could be 584,000 installations
The report also looked at the market for collaborative industrial robots, known as cobots, saying 14,000 were installed in 2018, an increase of 23% over 2017.
Asia is the world’s largest robot market, although installations in China and South Korea have declined. Installations in Japan grew in 2018 for an overall Asia increase of 1%. Junji Tsuda, president of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), said the U.S.-China conflict “imposes uncertainty to the global economy [and] customers tend to postpone investments.”
The auto industry continues to be the top adopter of robots globally, making up 20% of the supply in 2018. Nearly 80% of auto installations of robots took place in five markets: China (39,351 installations), Japan (17,364), Germany (15,673), US (15,246) and South Korea (11,034).
The electronics industry was second to auto in 2018 in use of robots, even though 2018 was down by 14% from 2017. The 2018 installs in electronics were 105,000 units, down from 122,000 in 2017. The IFR reported that the electronics industry was the most affect by the U.S.-China trade crisis, as Asian countries lead in manufacturing chips and components.