Summary of Report -
World demand to rise 10.5% annually through 2016
Global demand for robots is forecast to increase nearly 11 percent per year through 2016 to $20.2 billion, outpacing both the world's economy and overall manufacturing activity. Robots can perform certain tasks faster and more accurately than humans can, which increases productivity and helps reduce overall costs. In developed countries, which tend to have higher labor costs, robots are often used to replace human workers. In developing countries, which usually have an abundance of low cost labor, robot use is more concentrated in tasks that are difficult or dangerous for human workers. However, as wages rise in developing countries, the use of robots to replace human workers will increase, especially as advantages in end product quality and worker safety become more apparent.
Service robots to outpace industrial types
The industrial sector has been a significant user of robots for a few decades now, while the service sector has only become significant robot users since the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. Through 2016 and beyond, service robots will lead growth as lower costs and the increasing sophistication of robot technology and software make these products more appealing to a broader range of consumers. The robust outlook for service robot demand is leading an increasing number of companies to enter the market, especially in the medical and consumer product sectors, and this should increase competition and further lower costs. Professional applications will continue to dominate the service robot market, with medical robots leading gains, particularly in developed countries.
US to remain top market
Five countries -- the US, Japan, Germany, China, and South Korea -- combined to account for 68 percent of the $12.3 billion global robot market in 2011 and will continue to dominate the overall market through the next decade. The US will remain the largest national market. China will become the second largest market by 2016.
Global robot production is dominated by Japan, the US, Germany, and South Korea, which combined accounted for 70 percent of the total in 2011. Because production is so concentrated, trade is quite important in the robot industry. Sophisticated high-value industrial and medical robots tend to be produced in highly developed countries with established high tech manufacturing industries, such as Japan, the US, and Germany. Smaller, less expensive service robots, especially those geared to the consumer market, are generally produced in countries with developed consumer electronics manufacturing capacity, primarily in Asia.
World Robots: Industry Study with Forecasts for 2016 & 2021, is available at: