Mobile robot market grew 22 per cent in first half of 2018

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

London, UK – Automated guided vehicle (AGV) and autonomous mobile robot (AMR) revenues grew by 22.2 per cent in the first half of 2018 compared to same period in 2017 according to the recently released Mobile Robot Market Tracker from Interact Analysis. Global revenues for both AGVs and AMRs combined reached US$656m in the first half of 2018.

Despite seeing a long-term growth trend, AGV demand dipped in the first half of 2018. Q1 2018 was a particularly weak quarter for AGVs, dragging down performance overall for the first half of the year with revenues basically flat compared to the first half of 2017. A large part of demand for AGVs is project-based and hence suppliers see considerable fluctuations between quarters occurs due to the “lumpy” nature of the market.

Conversely, AMR demand remained robust in the first six months of 2018. Revenues grew by more than 90 per cent in the first half of 2018to nearly $250m, while shipments more than doubled.

Considerable variations in growth were seen by region in the first half of 2018. Compared to 2017, the Americas region contracted in the first half of this year, though grew versus the last six months of 2017.

The Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions however showed tremendous growth, expanding by 22 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. APAC saw very high demand for smaller, lower-cost AGVs and AMRs in the first half of 2018, while EMEA saw much greater demand for larger, higher payload robots.

Deck-Load Robots Drive Forward
Most of the additional revenue growth achieved in the first half of 2018 came from deck-load AGVs and AMRs. These products accounted for more than half of the market and grew by a staggering 55 per cent in the first half of this year.

Tugger/pull type mobile robots also performed strongly, growing at a double-digit pace, yet account for a relatively small part of the industry. Forklift type AGVs/AMRs are typically much more expensive than other mobile robots and orders are more sporadic in nature. Revenues from these products dipped in the first two half of this year by roughly seven per cent.