After seeing sales fade in 2020 during the pandemic crisis, collaborative robot makers will now enjoy a rebound in the new year that could produce 15 to 20% annual growth from 2021 until 2028, an industry study says.
The optimistic forecast follows a “difficult” 2019 and an “arid” 2020—when collaborative robot (cobot) revenues actually showed negative growth for the first time, according to the report from London-based market research firm Interact Analysis.
The obvious culprit for the red ink was Covid-19, which led to factory and warehouse closures, slowed demand, customer caution about investments, and delays or cancellations of orders. The impact of those events lead to global co-bot industry statistics of -11.3% in revenue and -5.7% in shipments during 2020, the firm said.
While the future looks somewhat brighter, the forecast has still been lowered considerably compared to the equivalent 2019 report, Interact Analysis said. Reasons for that change include the pandemic, as well as rising competition from small articulated and SCARA (selective compliance articulated robot arm) designs in industrial settings, and a slower than expected increase in cobot installations in non-industrial applications.
“Collaborative robots are still the new kid on the block,” Jan Zhang, senior director at Interact Analysis, said in a release. “Their application potential hasn’t been fully exploited yet, by any means.”
While most cobots are currently employed for industrial tasks in the electronics sector, they are quickly becoming popular for other areas as well. “Their flexibility and ease of use makes them strong candidates for logistics, services, and even education applications,” Zhang said. “Our research tells us that those non-manufacturing areas will account for 21.3% of collaborative robot revenues by 2024. Our little Cobot friends are certainly set to enjoy significant growth compared to other robot types!”
Our Research Analyst Maya Xiao outlines the V-shaped rebound and sustained growth predicted for the #collaborativerobot market and forecasts collaborative #robot revenues up to 2028.— Interact Analysis (@IA_Analysis) January 18, 2021
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