According to new report from market research and consultancy firm Interact Analysis, revenues for the autonomous mobile robot market will increase by approximately 25% in 2020, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, revenues are set to reach US $2.4B this year, and will increase by a further 50% in 2021 as the impact of the pandemic leads to greater demand for mobile automation.
(As a result of) the internet shopping boom due to the pandemic, e-commerce volumes have gone forward 5 years overnight which is leading to companies accelerating there automation plans. What companies were planning for 2024-2025 is happening now…
– Ash Sharma, Managing Director, Interact Analysis
AMRs Outstrip AGVs – Sales of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which perform material handling tasks automatically without human intervention, but are limited to navigation using physical infrastructure, will lag behind sales of the more advanced autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), which can navigate without the need for external markers or infrastructure. Interact Analysis predicts 2020 revenue growth of 11% for AGVs, and 45% for AMRs (See Figure 1, below).
Growth Hit, But a Rebound – The 2020 growth figures for the total AGV / AMR sector is predicted to be 24%, a healthy figure. However the 2020 pre-pandemic growth forecast for the sector was 60%. But Interact Analysis believes that COVID-19 will be a game-changer for the sector in the next few years, with sales increasing significantly in the run up to 2024.
E-commerce, Reshoring, More Are Drivers – The surge in e-commerce, and the reshoring of key manufacturing as economies re-set themselves in the face of the pandemic (and the West to some extent de-couples from China), will be major drivers of mobile robot growth. So too will be requirements for social distancing and reduced reliance on human labor, and the need for speed and efficiency in the work-place.
Manufacturing Leads – Manufacturing will be the dominant source for AMR / AGV sector growth into 2021, but logistics will then take off as investment in robot technology in that sector spirals. Warehouses that support online orders and store replenishment are beginning to deploy large quantities of robots, and general merchandise companies such as Chinese internet giant JD.com, Alibaba and Amazon are already making huge investments in AMRs in their warehouses (although Amazon makes their own robots, meaning this business is captive and is not included in the analysis). Interact Analysis predicts that the logistics sector will invest around $9bn in AMRs in 2024, as opposed to around $1bn in 2020. Mobile robot investment in the manufacturing sector will peak at around $5bn in 2024.
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