Service Robot Statistics
The total number of professional service robots sold in 2011 rose by 9% compared to 2010 to 16,408 units up from 15,027 in 2010. The sales value increased by 6% to US$ 3.6 billion. Since 1998, a total of more than 110,000 service robots for professional use have been counted in these statistics. It is not possible to estimate how many of these robots are still in operation because of the diversity of these products. Some e.g. underwater robots might be more than 20 years in operation. Others, like defence robots, may only be for a short time in operation.
With 6,570 units, service robots in defence applications accounted for 40% of the total number of service robots for professional use sold in 2011. Thereof, unmanned aerial vehicles seem to be the most important application as their sales increased by 11% to 5,053 units. The total number of field robots - mainly milking robots - sold in 2011 was about 5,000 units, accounting for a share of 31% of the total unit supply of professional service robots. The sales value of field robots increased by 18% to US $879 million, accounting for about 25% of the total value of professional service robot sales. The continued considerable increase of sales demonstrates that milking robots are well established.
Sales of medical robots increased by 13% compared to 2010 to 1,051 units in 2011, accounting for a share of 6% of the total unit sales of professional service robots. The most important applications are robot assisted surgery and therapy with 994 units sold in 2011, 14% more than in 2010. The total value of sales of medical robots slightly decreased to US$ 1,347 million, accounting for 38% of the total sales value of the professional service robots. Medical robots are the most valuable service robots with an average unit price of about US$ 1.5 million, including accessories and services. Therefore, suppliers of medical robots also provide leasing contracts for their robots.
Due to more companies reporting their data and thus better information coverage, the data for logistics systems were revised. 2,141 logistic systems (courier and mailing factory logistic systems, which were mainly automated guided vehicles for factories) were installed in 2011, 3% less than in 2010, accounting for 13% of the total sales of professional service robots. 1,616 were supplied as well as 515 factory logistic systems, which were mainly automated guided vehicles for factories. Medical robots as well as logistic systems are well established service robots with a considerable growth potential.
Other professional service robots with lower units sales are construction and demolition systems, robots for professional cleaning, inspection and maintenance systems, rescue and security robots, mobile robot platforms and underwater systems. Underwater systems are among the most valuable professional service robots with a unit price of about US$850,000.
In 2011, about 2.5 million service robots for personal and domestic use were sold, 15% more than in 2010. The value of sales increased by 19% to US$636 million.
Service robots for personal and domestic use are recorded separately, as their unit value is generally only a fraction of that of many types of service robots for professional use. They are also produced for a mass market with completely different pricing and marketing channels.
So far, service robots for personal and domestic use are mainly in the areas of domestic (household) robots, which include vacuum and floor cleaning, lawn-mowing robots, and entertainment and leisure robots, including toy robots, hobby systems, education and research.
Handicap assistance robots have not taken off to the anticipated degree in the past few years. In 2011 however, this market seemed to start up. 156 robots were sold, up from 46 in 2010. This is still quite a low number but the prospects are promising. A lot of national research projects in many countries concentrate on this huge future market for service robots. In contrast to the household and entertainment robots, these robots are high-tech products.
The market of robots for personal transportation as well as home security and surveillance robots will gain importance in the future.
In 2011, it was estimated that 1.7 million domestic robots, including all types, were sold. The actual number might, however, be significantly higher, as the IFR survey is far from having full coverage in this domain. The value was about US$ 454 million.
As for entertainment robots, about 841,000 units were counted in 2011, 12% more than in 2010. Numerous companies, especially Asian ones, offer low-priced ?toy robots?. But among those mass products there are increasingly more sophisticated products for the home entertainment market. Since many years, the LEGO® Mindstorms® programme has belonged to the more high quality products. The total value of the 2011 sales of entertainment robots amounted to US$ 166 million.
Projections for the period 2012-2015: About 93,800 new service robots for professional use to be installed
Turning to the projections for the period 2012-2015, sales forecast indicate an increase to about 93,800 units with a value of US$ 16.3 billion.
Thereof, about 28,000 robots for defence applications will be sold in the period 2012-2015. They are followed by milking robots with about 25,800 units. This is probably a rather conservative estimate. These two service robot groups make up 57% of the total forecast of service robots.
Projections for the period 2012-2015: About 15.6 million units of service robots for personal use to be sold
It is projected that sales of all types of robots for domestic tasks (vacuum cleaning, lawn-mowing, window cleaning and other types) could reach almost 11 million units in the period 2012-2015, with an estimated value of US$ 4.8 billion.
Sales of all types of entertainment and leisure robots are projected at about 4.7 million units, with a value of about US$ 1.1 billion (see respective table and figures).
Sales of robots for elderly and handicap assistance will be about 4,600 units in the period of 2012-2015. This market will increase substantially within the next 20 years.
More information: www.worldrobotics.org
Executive Summary Service Robots
World Robotics Sales Flyer