IFR press release

IFR Statistical Department

News from the IFR Statistical Department

Robot shipments worldwide: Slump in 2009, slow recovery in 2010

At the end of January 2010 the participants of the IFR Quarterly Statistics on Industrial Robots received the total results the worldwide sales 2009. The robotics industry is faced with a dramatic downturn of robot shipments in 2009 by about 50%. But since the third quarter, robot sales are slowly increasing again. Here are a few comments of IFR members on the situation in the major regions published in our press release of 18 February 2010:


Situation in Asia:

"After six years of consistent growth of Japanese automobile manufacturers investment, the slump of economy revealed huge excess of the production capacity. This hit Japanese robot suppliers very hard. The recovery slowly started in the third quarter but it would take a few more years to come back to the level of early 2008 in Japan". stated Junji Tsuda, IFR Vice President, Yaskawa/Motoman, Japan, on the situation in Asia:

Tsuda continued: "New investment mainly goes to new manufacturing system for hybrid electric cars and new models for lighter and environmentally gentler cars.Automobile industry in China has shown strong growth and investment has been consistent even in the harsh economy outside China. This is expected to last at least another couple of years. Investment in Southeast Asia seems to be coming back. Recovery of robot industry in Asia  in 2010 is promising but speed is unpredictable."


Situation in Europe:

Dr. Andreas Bauer, Chairman of the IFR Robot Suppliers Group, KUKA, Germany, added: "We are confident the worldwide increasing sales numbers in the last quarters of 2009 are the start of a recovery also in Europe. Robotics and automation is still one of the fastest growing industries of the last 20 years. I am sure the worldwide mega trends like sustainability, expanding industrialization and demographic shift will push the robotics industry for many more years."


Situation in North America:

"From an order intake point of view we can report that in the second half of 2009, robotic orders in North America showed noticeable improvement of over 9% over the first half of the year. Largely responsible for this encouraging showing was a very strong 3rd Quarter." stated IFR President Lindqvist, additionally, who is also member of the Board of the North American robot association RIA.

He continued: "This improvement is not surprising in view of an improving manufacturing sector and we feel cautiously optimistic this trend may continue. The consumer demand for automobiles in North America is still difficult to predict though. Very encouraging on the other hand is the uptick in unit figures for life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical orders, which actually recorded an impressive 43% increase for the year 2009. In conclusion we feel that the situation outside of automotive is definitely improving, and automotive is stabilizing. We are looking forward to 2010, though still challenging, and sense that the corner has basically been turned in North America."


Preliminary detailed results of 2009 available very soon!

Most of the robot suppliers and national associations already sent their detailed data on robot shipments in 2009 to the IFR Statistical Department. Only a few are still missing. We feel confident that we can provide the preliminary detailed worldwide results to the participants in April 2010.


Presentation of the preliminary results at the AUTOMATICA in Munich on 9 June 2010

On 9 June 2010, the IFR President Åke Lindqvist will give an overview on worldwide robot sales in 2009. Afterwards, key people of the robotics industry will discuss "The Future of Robotics". The discussion will be filmed. Essential statements of the participants will be available on the IFR website for download. A real promotional event for the whole robotics industry! Just save the date:

9th June 2010

09:00 am to 10:30 am

Press Center of Messe Munich



Gudrun Litzenberger
IFR Statistical Department
Tel: ++49-69/6603-1502