Global spending on robotics, drones to reach $103 bn in 2018: IDC
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Global spending on robotics and drones is expected to grow 22.1%, year-on-year, to reach $103 billion by the end of 2018, an International Data Corporation report said.

The report also said that the spending will more than double to $218.4 billion by 2021, with a compounded annual growth rate of 25.4%.

“Industrial robots are becoming more intelligent, human-friendly and easier to work with," said Jing Bing Zhang, research director, robotics at IDC. “This has accelerated their rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry, beyond automotive, especially in high-tech manufacturing, which requires light-weight robots with higher precision, flexibility, mobility and collaborative capability.”

The report added that discrete and process manufacturing will be the leading industries for robotics and contribute with over $60 billion this year. “Resource and healthcare industries will also make significant investments in robotics solutions. The retail and wholesale industries will see the fastest robotics spending growth over the forecast with CAGRs of 46.3% and 41.2%, respectively.”

“While robotics has its roots in the manufacturing sector, we will continue to see increasing acceptance and adoption of robots in several other industries, such as resources and transportation,” said Jessica Goepfert, programme director, customer insights and analysis, IDC. “Organisations in these areas are attracted to the promise of greater efficiency and productivity. But they are also turning to robotics to address other concerns such as skills shortages, workplace safety, and keeping up with the accelerating pace of business.”

The report said investments to develop drones will go up to $9 billion this year, and is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall market with a five-year CAGR of 29.8%.

“Drones have become an indispensable tool, especially in industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, and telecommunications,” said William Stofega, programme director, mobile device technology and trends, IDC.

“While there is a growing number of consumer drone enthusiasts, we expect that drones will soon become part of the connected-home providing home security, monitoring children at play, or delivering groceries.”

It said that enterprise drone solutions will deliver more than half of all drone spending throughout the forecast period with the balance coming from consumer drone solutions.

“Enterprise drones will increase its share of overall spending with a five-year CAGR of 36.6%. The utilities and construction industries will see the largest drone spending in 2018, with $912 million and $824 million, respectively, followed by the process and discrete manufacturing industries. The fastest growth in drone spending will come from education (74.1% CAGR) and state or local government (70.5% CAGR) industries.”

China will be the largest geographic market for robotics, delivering more than 30% of all robotics spending throughout the forecast period, followed by the rest of Asia-Pacific, the US and Japan.

“In 2018, the US will be the largest geographic market for drone spending at $4.3 billion, followed by Western Europe, China and the rest of Asia-Pacific. However, exceptionally strong spending growth in China (55.5% CAGR) and Asia-Pacific (excluding China and Japan) (62.0% CAGR) will move these two markets ahead of Western Europe by 2021,” the report said.

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