Nearly 60,000 mobile robots shipped in 2020 – an increase of over 25% on 2019 with revenues to reach $18 billion by 2025, despite lowered short-term forecast

New research from market intelligence firm Interact Analysis shows that mobile robot revenues and shipments grew significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, regardless of delays in commissioning and the postponing of projects as a result of the pandemic. Looking further ahead, robust and exponential growth is forecast, despite a lowering in Interact Analysis’ short-term projections, with 2.1 million mobile robots due to have been shipped by the end of 2025.

Although mobile robot orders collapsed in the first half of 2020, the market performed extremely well in the second half. The fourth quarter was particularly strong, and some vendors reported that they received 50% or more of their annual orders in the last two months of the year. Growth in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) was significantly higher than for autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) because the AGV segment faced much greater delays and cancellation rates due to its tendency to be relatively more expensive and less scalable, and to require longer installation times.

The new research shows that, by the end of 2025, nearly 2.1 million mobile robots will have been shipped (with almost 860,000 of these accounted for in 2025 alone). Meanwhile, revenues will hit $18 billion. In 2020, AGVs accounted for more than half of all mobile robot revenues, and demand for both AGVs and AMRs will be strong over the entire period. However, by 2025, AMR revenues will dwarf those of AGVs, with the latter’s market share dropping to under 25%, partly due to the greater diversity of applications that AMRs can be applied to.

Ash Sharma, managing director at Interact Analysis, says: “At the end of 2020, mobile robots had been deployed in just over 9,000 separate customer sites, mainly warehouses and factories. By the end of 2025, this will have increased to over 53,000 deployments, and that will still be far from the point of market saturation. Goods-to-person robots will account for 37% of shipment volume over the next five years, though only 18% of revenue. But person-to-goods robots are growing at an impressive rate, and we forecast huge room for growth in all areas of the mobile robot market