Report: China to ship half of the world’s collaborative robots from 2023

May 31, 2022
Logistics and service industries will be the long-term market drivers.

New cobot research from Interact Analysis shows that the market enjoyed 45% growth in 2021 as part of a post-pandemic rebound. The market for collaborative robots will continue to grow strongly out to 2026 with annual growth rates sitting at just over 20%. Logistics and service industries are likely to be the long-term growth drivers.

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% in 2021 to 54.4% 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%—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 still impressive 5-year CAGR of 19.4%.

By 2026 the collaborative robot market will be three times the size it was in 2021, exceeding $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% will be maintained right out to 2030. A key focus for cobot companies right now is on making their products suitable for new application scenarios, per Interact Analysis, which notes that they 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 labor shortages, they predict. 

Maya Xiao, senior analyst at Interact Analysis says, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of labor shortages is seemingly never ending. This is leading many to invest in collaborative robots. 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%. 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 20-30% growth rate for the market, right out to 2026.”