WASHINGTON – Robot shipments are expected to jump 39 percent from 2018 to 2022 from a record annual sales level of $16.5 billion last year, according to the World Robotics report.
More than a third of global installations are in China and the top five countries — also including Japan, South Korea, the U.S and Germany — hold 74 percent of the market.
China’s investment in robots reached $5.4 billion last year.
“We saw a dynamic performance in 2018 with a new sales record, even as the main customers for robots — the automotive and electrical-electronics industry — had a difficult year,” said Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “The U.S.-China trade conflict poses uncertainty to the global economy — customers tend to postpone investments.”
More than 420,000 robots were installed last year and that figure is expected to jump to 584,000 by 2022. In 2013, the number of robots in place was 178,000.
In terms of robot density, or number of robots per 10,000 manufacturing employees, Singapore and Korea hold a considerable lead in highly-automated industrial production.
The 2018 total annual global robot sales value of $16.5 billion excludes software.