Robotic Industries Association Logo

Member Since 1900


RIA has transformed into the Association for Advancing Automation, the leading global automation trade association of the robotics, machine vision, motion control, and industrial AI industries.

Content Filed Under:



IFR: Trend Towards Automation Increases Demand for Industrial Robots

POSTED 07/08/2013

rong>2012: Second highest number of robots sold in 2012
2013:  Again a high level of robot sales expected

Shanghai - "2012 was quite satisfying for the global robot industry and robot sales reached the second highest level ever." stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR President, on Monday, 1st July 2013 at the CIROS in Shanghai.

Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales increased by 9% on average per year
"We are very pleased that in 2012 we have reached the second highest level of robot sales ever recorded in the history of industrial robots. More than 159,000 units were sold, almost on the same level as in 2011." announced Dr. Andreas Bauer, Chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group. "Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales have increased by 9% on average per year. The demand for industrial robots is increasing due to the accelerating trend towards automation all over the world. We estimate that robot installations will reach a similar level again in 2013.  In the last three years investments in robots have been strongly supported by the automotive industry. In other industries, the General Industry sales are increasing."

Electronics industry influenced the development in 2012
In 2012, mainly the decrease of robot sales to the electrical electronics industry caused the slight decrease. In 2012, sales of industrial robots to the automotive industry still continued to increase worldwide by 6%. The chemical and rubber and plastics industry as well as the food industry increased their robot orders while the metal and machinery industry slightly reduced them.

70% of the total supply 2012 in five countries
About 70% of the total robot sales in 2012 went to Japan, China, United Sates, Korea and Germany. In 2012, robot sales to Japan continued to increase slightly to 28,700 units. The electronics industry reduced robot investments considerably, while the automotive industry continued to increase robot orders by 31%. The sales volume of industrial robots is still far below the peak level of 2005, 44,000 units.

In 2012, China was the second largest robot market in the world following Japan. Although robot sales to China only slightly increased in 2012 to about 23,000 units, it is the most rapidly growing market in the world. Between 2005 and 2012, sales of industrial robots have increased by about 25% on average per year.

In the United States, the continued trend towards automation further increased robot installations to 22,400 units, a new peak level. Especially in the automotive industry increased robot investments. Robot supplies to the Republic of Korea decreased by almost 24% to 19,400 units after strong investments in 2010 and 2011 of the automotive and the electronics industry. Since 2010, the automotive industry was the driver of an almost unlimited growth of robot installations in Germany. In 2012, the automotive industry reduced their investments in industrial robots considerably while the General Industry ordered more than in 2011.  

Thailand is becoming more and more an important robot market. In 2012, robot supplies reached more than 4,000 units. After a strong investments in 2011, sales to the Central and Eastern European countries declined. The Brazilian market continued to grow while the robot sales to India stagnated.

More easy-to-use robots for the General Industry
The trend towards automation is continuing due to the increasing industrialization of huge growing consumer markets, the necessary modernizing of existing production facilities and the need to be competitive in a global market. Energy-efficiency and light weight construction are the main challenges of the manufacturing industry. The potential of the use of industrial robots in the General Industry will substantially grow when robots will collaborate with workers and when the integration of the robot will become easier. Especially, the end-customer-friendly- integration of robots in machine tools provide an enormous potential for new robot installations.  

Do you have any questions? Gudrun Litzenberger, IFR Statistical Department,
Telephone +49 69 66 03-1502 is ready to respond to your questions or concerns.

The International Federation of Robotics was established in 1987 in connection with the 17th International Symposium on Robotics, as a professional non-profit organisation, by robotics organisations from over 15 countries. Since 1970 an International Symposium on Robotics is organised every year on a different continent, in a different country and another city. The Symposium is systematically organised in conjunction with an International Robot Exhibition.

The purpose of the International Federation of Robotics is to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics to act as a focal point for organisations and governmental representatives in activities related to robotics.

The IFR is hosted by VDMA Robotics and Automation.

The IFR Statistical Department, which is hosted by the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association, publishes two studies of World Robotics every year.

World Robotics Industrial Robots:
This unique publication presents comprehensive global statistics on industrial robots in uniform tables allowing consistent country comparisons. It contains detailed statistical data for some 40 countries, broken down by application areas, industrial branches, types of robots and by other technical and economic variables. Data on production, exports and imports are presented for a selection of countries. Trends in robot densities, i.e. number of robots per 10,000 persons employed in relevant sectors, are also featured.

World Robotics Service Robots:
This unique publication presents comprehensive global statistics on service robots, market analysis, case studies and international research strategies of service robots. The study is evaluated in cooperation with our partner, the Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany.

World Robotics 2013 Industrial Robots and Service Robots will be published in September 2013