Robotics, drone spend to reach $115.7bn in 2019

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Robotics systems' service spending will be spread across systems integration, application management and hardware deployment, says IDC.
Robotics systems' service spending will be spread across systems integration, application management and hardware deployment, says IDC.

Global spending on robotics systems and drones is expected to total $115.7 billion in 2019, indicating an increase of 17.6% from 2018.

This is according to the Worldwide Semiannual Robotics and Drones Spending Guide, conducted by data analytics firm IDC.

The report predicts global spending on robotics systems and drones will reach $210.3 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.2%.

"Robotics systems will be the larger of the two categories throughout the five-year forecast period, with global robotics spending forecast to reach $103.4 billion in 2019, while drones will total $12.3 billion. Robotics systems will be dominated by hardware purchases, with nearly two-thirds of all spending going towards robotic software systems, after-market robotics hardware, and system hardware," notes IDC.

Industrial, service robot sales accelerate

Purchases of industrial robots and service robots will account for nearly 30% of the category total in 2019. Robotics-related software spending will largely go towards purchases of command and control applications and robotics-specific applications, according to IDC.

Discrete manufacturing will be responsible for nearly half of all robotics systems spending worldwide in 2019, generating $50.2 billion in revenue. The next largest industries for robotics systems, notes the report, will be process manufacturing, resource industries, healthcare and consumers.

"Industrial robotics continue to top the technology investment priorities of manufacturing organisations across all major markets surveyed by IDC in 2018," says Dr Jing Bing Zhang, research director of Worldwide Robotics at IDC.

"While the looming trade war between the US and China is likely to dampen the market growth slightly in the near term, we expect the growth trend to pick up from 2020 onward."

Services spending, according to the report, will be spread across several segments, including systems integration, application management, and hardware deployment and support. Software spending is forecast to grow at a slightly faster rate (21.7% CAGR) than services (19% CAGR) or hardware (18.2% CAGR) spending.

Drone uptake

Investments in drones will total $12.3 billion in 2019, but are forecast to grow at a faster rate (30.6% CAGR) than robotics systems (18.9% CAGR) by 2022, according to the report.

IDC predicts industry spending on drones in 2019 will be led by utilities ($1.4 billion), construction ($1.05 billion) and discrete manufacturing ($913 million). The industries that will experience the fastest growth in drone spending over the five-year forecast period will be federal/central government (56% CAGR), education (51% CAGR), and retail (42.01% CAGR).

"The market is working to simplify the use and integration of drones with efforts ranging from enabling new drone applications through improved technological capabilities to understanding the regulatory implications of drones and the viability of these applications," says Stacey Soohoo, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis.

"Drones are developing new skills, coupling 3D mapping and fully autonomous navigation capabilities with rapid improvements in battery performance and air-traffic management systems. Drone adopters continue to search for a safe, cost-efficient and repeatable drone solution that can be easily implemented in a variety of situations and use cases."

Drone software spending will primarily go to command and control applications and drone-specific applications, while services spending will be led by education and training and will see the fastest growth (35.9% CAGR) over the five-year forecast, followed by software (33.9% CAGR) and hardware (301% CAGR).

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