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IFR Says 943,000 Industrial Robots Operating in China, a 21% Increase

IFR Yaskawa 2021 400x275

October 27, 2021

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has released its World Robotics 2021 Industrial Robots report, showing a record 943,000 industrial robots operating in China’s factories today – an increase of 21% compared with the previous year. Sales of new robots grew strongly, with about 168,000 units shipped in 2020, a 20% increase compared to 2019 and the highest value ever recorded for a single country.

“The economies in North America, Asia and Europe did not experience their Covid-19 low point at the same time,” said Milton Guerry, president of the IFR. “Order intake and production in the Chinese manufacturing industry began surging in the second quarter of 2020. The North American economy started to recover in the second half of 2020, and Europe followed suit a little later.”

The IFR said Chinese robot manufacturers mainly catered to the domestic market, where they held a 27% market share in 2020 (45,000 units). This share has been constant (with some volatility) in the past eight years. IN 2020, installations of foreign robots – including units produced in China by non-Chinese suppliers – grew strongly by 24% to 123,000 units in 2020 with a total market share of 73%.

Around the world, a record number of 3 million industrial robots are operating in factories, and increase of 10%. Sales of new robots grew slightly at 0.5% despite the global pandemic. Global robot installations are expected to rebound strongly and grow by 13% to 435,000 units in 2021, exceeding the record level achieved in 2018, the IFR said. Installations in North America are expected to increase by 17% to almost 43,000 units. In Europe, installations are expected to grow by 8%, to almost 73,000 units. In Asia, robot installations are expected to exceed the 300,000-unit mark and add 15% to the previous year’s result.

The IFR also said the “boom after crisis” is expected to fade slightly in 2022 ong a global scale. From 2021 to 2024, average annual growth rates in the medium single-digit range are expected.

The IFR produces both the World Robotics Industrial Robots and a separate report on Service Robots. The reports can be purchased here.


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