2015 Worldwide Robot Sales: New Record!

Reposted from Robotics.org originally posted on 07/22/2016

Worldwide robot sales

Industrial robot sales increased by 12% in 2015
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) recently released its latest statistics about the 2015 worldwide industrial robot sales. Overall, the sales increased by 12% from 2014, totaling 248 000 units in 2015.

As expected, Asia is the biggest market with 156 000 units, a 16% increase from the previous year. Asia now accounts for almost two thirds of the robot sales. The Americas also had a good year with a 15% increase (37 000 units). Finally, Europe sales rose by 10% to reach 50 000 units.On the country level, China is the most active country, representing a bit more that 25% of the total industrial robotics market. It is followed by South Korea and Japan for the number of robots sold. The United States are fourth and Germany fifth. Those top five countries represent now three quarters of the worldwide robot sales.

Let’s compare those results with the projections done a year ago. The anticipated worldwide robot sales at that time were 264 000 units for 2015. The reality is slightly less, by 6.5%. By doing such comparison for the top five countries, we can see some interesting things.

In the first graph, the solid lines represent the actual sales for 2015, while the dotted lines show the anticipated sales when the IFR issued its results back in 2014. We can easily see that the industry was optimistic about China. The actual sales are about 11% less than originally expected. We do not have to worry as China still had a 17% growth from the previous year. We can also notice that, for most countries (Japan, USA, Germany and Italy), the actual sales for 2015 were close to the anticipated numbers. In fact, the surprise comes from South Korea as the real numbers exceeded the estimated one by 28%. This jump puts this country before Japan and the USA for yearly sales.

Let’s take a look at the American Market. The USA is by far the most important market (about 80% on average) whereas Mexico experienced the most important growth in 2015 as the number of units sold more than doubled. The robot sales in Mexico represented more than 50% of the robots sold in the Americas, outpacing easily the USA and Canada. Major investments in automotive manufacturing explain most of the sales in Mexico. Axium has contributed to this growth in the automotive industry in Mexico with projects such as this Robotic Welder for Fuel Tanks.

Robot sales - North America

More about the industries: The automotive industry still represents an important market with 38% of the worldwide units sold in 2015, a rise of 1%. Other industries seem more active, as they probably discover new opportunities to use industrial robotics. The metal industry, with a growth of 63%, was the 2015 champion, followed by the plastics and rubber industry and the electronics industry, with respectively increases of 40% and 16%.

We also noticed that the numbers issued by the IFR differ somehow from those published by the Robotics Industry Association (RIA). If we compare the graph above with the one published in a previous blog post, we can notice that IFR’s numbers are higher by about 20% compared to those from the RIA. We, of course, do not have any explanation about this. We can only suppose that the methodology is somehow different between the two organizations, unfortunately limiting the cross-references between them.

To conclude, the industrial robotics industry is healthy, and various opportunities arise in many fields. It is a great place to be!!