Last year over 100,000 mobile robots were shipped globally in 2021, Ash Sharma, Managing Director of Interact Analysis in a recent report. This is the first time this milestone has been reached, he says. The current labor shortage, coupled with strong e-commerce growth, has accelerated manufacturing and logistics companies’ plans to automate. This has caused sales in mobile robots to spiral, with nearly 70% more vehicles shipped than the year before and a 36% increase in revenues, which rose to nearly $3bn.
AGVs are a firmly established technology that has been around for 40+ years. But they have been challenged by AMRs for some time and, in 2021, global AMR revenues of $1.6bn finally surpassed those of AGVs by nearly $300m. In terms of shipments, almost 18,000 AGVs were shipped in 2021 compared to over 82,000 AMRs. By 2025 this will be 43,000 and 640,000 respectively.
China accounted for almost 40% of the 100,000 worldwide mobile robot shipments last year. The USA came in second accounting for just over a quarter. We expect both countries to maintain those shares up to 2025, when close to 2 million robots will have been installed. The market in general has some obvious drivers, and mobile robots are most attractive in regions that feature a high labor cost, low unemployment, and high e-commerce penetration.
In the UK just over 2,300 unit were shipped in 2021. This is projected to rise to over 18,500 in 2025. An increase of 700%. Compare this to India, where labor is much cheaper. That country, with well over a billion in population, shipped only 566 mobile robots in 2021, this will rise to only 2,700 by 2025.