Cobot market to continue speedy growth

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The market for cobots expanded by 45 percent in 2021, and it set to continue at more than 20 percent growth.

Research from Interact Analysis shows that the market collaborative robots will continue to grow strongly out to 2026 with annual growth driven by the logistics and service industries.

Chinese market to lead

The Chinese market for collaborative robots continues to lead over the EMEA and Americas regions. Interact Analysis predicts that China’s market share by shipments will increase from 49.1 percent in 2021 to a staggering 54.4 percent in 2026 (at which point annual unit shipments will exceed 50,000).

The research shows that China’s 2022-2026 cobot CAGR will be 29 percent – the highest of all the global regions. The Americas – where uptake of cobots particularly in manufacturing is much more cautious – are likely to retain the smallest market share overall with a five-year CAGR of 19.4 percent.

By 2026 the collaborative robot market will be three times the size it was in 2021, exceeding US$2bn that year and with shipment rates hitting the roof at 100,000 units. The outlook is positive for the long-term, with the research showing that growth rates of 20 percent will be maintained right out to 2030.

Preparing for new use cases

A key focus for cobot companies right now is on making their products suitable for new application scenarios. Currently, we are seeing a strong uptake in collaborative robot usage within the medical, education, logistics and catering fields. Moving forward, it is likely that we will see greater uptake within the industrial manufacturing industry where cobots are helping to plug the gaps caused by ongoing labour shortages. 

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of labour shortages is seemingly never ending. This is leading many to invest in collaborative robots,” said Maya Xiao, senior analyst at Interact Analysis.

“Our research shows that once one competitor invests in collaborative robots, and it is seen to work, there is a ripple effect. In 2021, global cobot shipments achieved a phenomenal year-on-year increase of 44.6 percent. Collaborative robots are being used as a form of ‘future-proofing’ because the pandemic creates so much uncertainty that companies don’t know what to expect next. Annually, we predict a 20 to 30 percent growth rate for the market, right out to 2026.”