Service robots worth $12.9 billion says IFR

Sep 19, 2019

According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the sales value of service robots for professional use increased by 32 percent to $9.2 billion. Logistic systems such as autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) represent the largest fraction in the professional service robot market with 41% of all units sold. The second largest category is inspection and maintenance robots at 39% of all units sold. These two segments account for 80 percent of total market share. Service robots for personal and domestic use are mainly in the areas of household robots, which include vacuuming cleaning and lawn-mowing robots. Value was up by 15 percent to $3.7 billion. The IFR outlook predicts a strong sales increase for professional and personal service robots (2019-2022). This is according to the organization's 2019 World Robotics Report – Service Robots.

"In terms of value, the sales forecast for 2019 indicates a cumulative volume of around 12.6 billion U.S. dollars for the professional service robot segment," said Susanne Bieller, general secretary of the IFR. "Robots for logistics, medical and field services are the most significant contributors."

The total number of professional service robots sold in 2018 rose by 61% to more than 271,000 units, up from roughly 168,000 in 2017.

The sales value of logistic systems is estimated at almost $3.7 billion which is 53% more than the year before. In terms of units, almost 111,000 logistic systems were sold in 2018 – this is 60% more than in 2017. There were 7,700 autonomous guided vehicles (AGV) in manufacturing environments and almost 103,000 in non-manufacturing environments are the driving force behind this rapidly growing market.

About 106,000 inspection and maintenance systems were sold in 2018. This accounts for 39% of total professional service robot units sold.

Sales of medical robots increased by 50% to 5,100 units. Medical robots account for 31% of the total sales value of the professional service robots. The total value of sales increased by 27% to $2.8 billion. Medical robots are the most expensive service robots with an average unit price of $548,000, including accessories and services.

The sales value of field robots increased by 8% to $1 billion, accounting for 11% of the total value of professional service robot sales. A total of 5,800 milking robots were sold in 2018 compared to 5,400 units in 2017, an increase of 8%. Sales of agricultural robots used are expected to grow strongly by an average of some 50% per year. In 2022, sales are expected to reach 2,400 units.

Sales of powered human exoskeletons, which support ergonomic working by reducing loads on the worker, were up from 6,700 units in 2017 to 7,300 units in 2018.

According to the IFR, the market for personal service robots is developing rapidly. It is projected that sales of all types of robots for personal and domestic tasks could exceed 22.1 million units (valued at $4.6 billion) in 2019 and 61.1 million units, with an estimated value of $11.5 billion, in 2022.

Vacuum and floor cleaning robots will enter more and more households in the world. It is estimated that in 2019 more than 17.6 million units of domestic robots - including autonomous lawn-mowers, pool cleaners and vacuum cleaners - will be sold. Unit sales are expected to increase by 46% on average per year so that more than 55 million units will be sold in 2022.