North American Industrial Robot Sales Decline in Q1 2024

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Author : topwellpower
Update time : 2024-07-03 10:05:00

North American Industrial Robot Sales Show Sluggish Start in 2024

Recent data from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reveals a continued sluggishness in North American industrial robot sales, with a 6% decline in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

From January to March 2024, North America purchased a total of 8,582 industrial robots valued at $494 million. In contrast, during the first quarter of 2023, companies in North America ordered 9,168 robots valued at $597 million.

"Signs of improvement in North American robot orders are emerging as we approach mid-year," said Alex Shikany, Vice President of A3's Membership and Market Intelligence. "Particularly encouraging is the ongoing adoption of robots by non-automotive customers, indicating a broadening scope and impact of automation across industries."

Following two record-breaking years of sales, North American robot orders also saw a 30% year-on-year decrease in 2023, with companies purchasing 31,159 robots compared to 44,196 in 2022 and 37,108 in 2021.

A3 attributes the slowdown in 2023 to "clear issues" such as a slowing U.S. economy, rising interest rates, and supply chain disruptions stemming from over-purchasing of robots in 2022.

It's worth noting that A3's data only covers sales of traditional industrial robots and does not include figures for autonomous mobile robots or collaborative robotic arms.

However, a closer examination of the data reveals that the decline is primarily driven by reduced demand from the automotive sector. In stark contrast, non-automotive industries show a steady growth trend in robot procurement, with a 16% increase in order volume compared to the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2024, non-automotive customers ordered 4,096 robots, accounting for 48% of total orders. Among these customers, the top three sectors showing significant growth from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024 were food and consumer goods (120%), life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical (72%), and precious metals (46%).

This trend reflects a shift for industrial robots away from dependency on a single industry, gradually expanding into broader fields. Consumer goods, smart healthcare, and precious metals industries demonstrate increasing demand for robots, underscoring the expanding applications and growing influence of robot technology.

This phenomenon is not unique to North America; globally, industrial robot applications are also diversifying. According to a report by Interact Analysis, global industrial robot shipments surpassed 500,000 units in 2023, setting a new record. Concurrently, the average price of industrial robots is decreasing annually by approximately 3% from 2024 to 2028, further promoting widespread adoption across industries.

With the deep integration of robot technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data, we are witnessing a paradigm shift that reshapes industries, enhances productivity, and unleashes new growth possibilities. Clearly, this is not just a trend but a cornerstone of modern manufacturing.

Emerging types of robots fostered by technological innovation play crucial roles not only in production and manufacturing but also hold vast potential in logistics, healthcare rehabilitation, household services, and beyond. It is foreseeable that robots will become indispensable aides across various sectors, catalyzing comprehensive transformations in production modes and lifestyles.

Of course, this also entails new challenges for humanity. On one hand, robots may replace some repetitive and harsh working positions, prompting adjustments in employment structures. On the other hand, rapid technological advancements underline the critical importance of "safety."

Nevertheless, A3 President Jeff Burnstein does not believe robots will completely replace humans. He states, "Industrial automation is shaping the future of work and production across industries, amplifying human intelligence rather than replacing it."

In conclusion, despite short-term fluctuations in robot sales, industrial automation remains a prevailing trend. Industrial robots are poised to rejuvenate and thrive under the catalyst of new technologies, revitalizing industry dynamics and vitality.

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