Facts and figures: The rise of industrial robots and drones

A new report suggests that industrial robots and drones are on the rise, and in the next five years, will gain a lot of traction across the globe.
23 July 2018

What’s the future of industrial robots and drones? Source: Shutterstock

What can robots and drones do for companies? Well, everything.

In the near future, in a bid to make the industrial space more effective, efficient, and safe, many companies are considering heavy investments in robots and drones.

Although it may seem like a heavy capital commitment, it is a great idea for those playing the long game.

According to research outfit IDC, worldwide spending on robotics and drones solutions will reach US$201.3 billion in 2022 and achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6 percent over the 2017-2022 forecast period. Robotics and drone spending this year alone is expected to touch US$95.9 billion.

Industrial robots are becoming increasingly popular in the US. Source: Shutterstock

Robots are rolling in

Spending on robotics solutions is expected to total US$86.6 billion in 2018 and will account for more than 85 percent of all spending throughout the five-year forecast, says IDC.

Analysts predict that industrial robotic solutions will account for the largest share of robotics spending, followed by service robots and consumer robots.

Discrete and process manufacturing will be the leading industries for robotics spending at more than US$54 billion combined in 2018.

The resource and healthcare industries will also make significant investments in robotics solutions this year.

The retail and wholesale industries will see the fastest robotics spending growth over the forecast with CAGRs of 32.7 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively.

Drones are finding more use in warehouses in America. Source: Shutterstock

Drone-based solutions are taking off

Worldwide drone spending is estimated to reach US$9.3 billion this year and is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall market with a five-year CAGR of 32.1 percent.

Enterprise drone solutions will deliver more than half of all drone spending throughout the forecast period with the balance coming from consumer drone solutions, according to IDC.

In fact, enterprise drones are forecast to increase its share of overall spending with a five-year CAGR of 37.1 percent.

The utilities and construction industries will see the largest drone spending this year (reaching US$925 million and US$808 million, respectively), followed by the process and discrete manufacturing industries.

Key growth in drone spending will come from various industries including education (72.8 percent CAGR) and federal/central government (70.1 percent CAGR).

According to IDC’s Research Manager Stacey Soohoo, most countries are starting to understand the growing need for drone control and an air traffic management system for both enterprise and consumer deployments, and are working on providing clarity on drone regulations.

China chases America’s drone-dreams

Forecasts suggest that China will be the largest geographic market for robotics, delivering more than 30 percent of all robotics spending throughout the forecast, followed by the rest of Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan), the United States, and Japan.

The United States, on the other hand, will be the largest geographic market for drone spending at US$4.3 billion this year, followed by Western Europe and China.

However, exceptionally strong spending growth in China (63.2 percent CAGR) will move the market ahead of the United States by 2022.