At a press event to launch the IFR’s World Robotics Industrial Robots statistical review of 2014 (with projections through 2018), the $1,350 report forecasts a 15% CAGR, thereby doubling the annual number of units sold to around 400,000 by 2018.
70% of those sales will be to users in China, Japan, the U.S., South Korea and Germany. China purchased 56% more robots in 2014 than 2013, of which approximately 17,000 were made by Chinese vendors. The IFR is forecasting Asian robot sales units to increase from about 140,000 to 275,000 by 2018, by far the largest and fastest growing marketplace in the world. They are projecting 15% CAGR worldwide, but as the chart shows, much lower growth than that for Asia and China in particular.
Specifically, sales for the global robotics industry in 2014 were $10.7 billion, a 13% increase over 2013. There are now about 1.5 million robots at work globally, an increase of 11% over 2013. Adding supporting services such as integration, accessories, peripherals, software and systems engineering at a 3X multiplier, worldwide 2014 sales are estimated to be $32 billion.
The report suggests that rapid automation in China and global competition of industrial production are the main drivers for the sustained growth forecasts. Further reasons for the increased demand for robots include: