Framingham, MA — Worldwide spending on robotics systems and drones will be US$128.7 billion in 2020, an increase of 17.1% over 2019, according to a new update to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Robotics and Drones Spending Guide. By 2023, IDC expects this spending will reach $241.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8%.
Robotics systems will be the larger of the two categories throughout the five-year forecast period with worldwide robotics spending forecast to be $112.4 billion in 2020. Spending on drones will total $16.3 billion in 2020 but is forecast to grow at a faster rate (33.3% CAGR) than robotics systems (17.8% CAGR).
“Software developments are among the most important trends currently shaping the robotics industry. Solution providers are progressively integrating additional software-based, often cloud-based, functionalities into robotics systems. An operational-centric example is an asset management application to monitor the robotic equipment performance in real-time. It aligns solutions with current expectations for modern operational technology (OT) at large and plays in facilitated adoption by operations leaders,” said Remy Glaisner, research director, Worldwide Robotics: Commercial Service Robots. “Equally important is the early trend driven by burgeoning ‘software-defined’ capabilities for robotics and drone solutions. The purpose is to enable systems beyond some of the limitations imposed by hardware and to open up entirely new sets of commercially viable use-cases.”
Spending on drones will also be dominated by hardware purchases with more than 90% of the category total going toward consumer drones, after-market sensors, and service drones in 2020. 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.
Consumer spending on drones will total $6.5 billion in 2020 and will represent nearly 40% of the worldwide total throughout the forecast. Industry spending on drones will be led by utilities ($1.9 billion), construction ($1.4 billion), and the discrete manufacturing and resource industries ($1.2 billion each). IDC expects the resource industry to move ahead of both construction and discrete manufacturing to become the second largest industry for drone spending in 2021. The fastest growth in drone spending over the five-year forecast period will come from the federal/central government (63.4% CAGR), education (55.9% CAGR), and state/local government (49.9% CAGR).
“We expect to see some price increases as drone manufacturers pass on the cost of tariffs imposed on the import/export of drones. The construction and resource industries will particularly feel the effects of these price increases. In contrast, many consumer drone manufacturers have chosen against raising prices and are absorbing the additional costs in order to maintain supply and to satisfy continuing consumer demand for drones. While the pending trade agreement offers some hope, these industries will face continued headwinds as long as tariffs remain in place,” said Stacey Soohoo, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis.
On a geographic basis, China will be the largest region for drones and robotics systems with overall spending of $46.9 billion in 2020. Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (APeJC) will be the second largest region with $25.1 billion in spending, followed by the United States ($17.5 billion) and Western Europe ($14.4 billion).