Warehouse automation market set to boom

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The global warehouse automation market will grow from US$29.6bn in 2020 to $69bn in 2025.

The findings were released by Interact Analysis in the latest edition of its global warehouse automation report. 

Fixed automation such as AS/RS, conveyors and conveyor-based sorters will remain the most common form of automation for the foreseeable future, but there is a rapidly growing trend for warehouses to adopt more flexible mobile automation solutions.  

Owing to the pandemic, many companies saw a plateau in warehouse automation revenue, while order intake increased significantly. This was due to delays in project completion and supply chain limitations.

Permanent acceleration

As a result of this, Interact Analysis predicts that between 2021 and 2022 the warehouse automation market will stabilize as the market re-equilibrates and catches up on the backlog of orders. By 2022 the market will return to normal and will face a permanently accelerated rate of post-pandemic growth.  

Dematic and Honeywell Intelligrated continue to retain the greatest market share. Dematic leads the way, with 10 percent of the market and impressive revenue growth of 31 percent in 2020 (compared to 14 percent in 2019). Meanwhile, Honeywell Intelligrated grew by 13 percent in 2020. Interestingly, Knapp’s order intake grew by 55 percent in 2020 while their revenues decreased by one percent due to project delays caused by the pandemic.  

Driven by China and Japan, APAC retains its title of having the largest market share for warehouse automation with a market size of $11bn in 2020. 

A significant proportion of growth within the Americas and EMEA markets is predicted to come from the general merchandise and grocery sectors. Interestingly, these sectors are less prominent in APAC, where they together account for 29 percent of the warehouse automation market (compared to 42 percent and 45 percent of EMEA and the Americas respectively).  

“The general merchandise segment is the single largest segment in warehouse automation, and it is predicted to grow at a faster rate than the overall market, with revenues hitting $20bn by 2025,” said Rueben Scriven, senior analyst at Interact Analysis.

“General merchandise is driven by companies such as JD.com, Amazon and Target, all of which have heavily benefited from the Covid-inspired e-commerce boost. By 2025, general merchandise will account for 28 percent of the market. However, the single fastest growing vertical market is grocery, which is projected to grow from 12 percent of the market in 2020 to 16 percent in 2025.” 

Covid-19 has highlighted the need for more efficient and flexible supply chains, and warehouse automation technologies are proving to be a central part of this transition. Yet, while the overall market for warehouse automation is on a positive trajectory, transitions from legacy technologies to more flexible automation solutions is taking place on a massive scale.