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Interact Analysis released its latest report on growth in the mobile robot market, which includes sales of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). According to its analysis, the mobile robot market saw a 53% increase in mobile robot shipments in 2022.
The company expects the mobile robot market to continue to grow in the coming years. By the end of 2027, Interact Analysis expects an installed base of over 4 million mobile robots, with 1.5 million of those being installed in 2027.
Revenue is also expected to continue to grow an average of 30-40% annually. According to Interact Analysis, material transport automation is a key driver in revenue for the mobile robot market, with conveying solutions making up the majority of revenue volume.
Material transport AGVs and AMRs will make up almost a quarter of the 4 million mobile robots expected to be installed by the end of 2027, reaching $8.5 billion in revenue by 2027. This is a large increase from the $3 billion the segment brings in today.
Weathering economic headwinds
The mobile robot sector grew strongly this year despite economic conditions that have made it difficult for companies to afford large capital investments and supply chain issues that have delayed many mobile robot deployments. While e-commerce sales have begun to shrink since the pandemic, they still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels, leaving a gap in labor and demand for automation.
While the market took a hit in 2020, it saw a strong comeback in 2021, with 100,000 mobile robots shipped globally and revenue growing by 35%. Much of the growth the sector saw in 2021 came from the forklift and conveyor sectors, which was responsible for 60% of revenue growth in 2021.
Labor scarcity, e-commerce growth and a need for flexible manufacturing will continue to be strong drivers for the industry in the coming years, according to Interact Analysis. Despite this growth, there will still be a lot of room for the sector to further expand. Even with the growth the industry will see before then, Interact Analysis expects that only 2% of all forklifts shipped in 2027 will be automated. Additionally, only 14% of warehouses will have deployed an order fulfillment AMR.
Growing sales in China
China’s robotics industry has seen much growth in recent years. 2021 was the first year it surpassed the United States in robot density, a metric that tracks the number of robots for every 10,000 workers.
While Interact Analysis expects China will be responsible for more than 40% of all mobile robot shipments in the next five years, different expectations in the Chinese market could still hinder sales growth. According to Interact Analysis, Chinese vendors are typically looking for lower-cost robots, resulting in lower average selling prices in the country.