With more and more people, experts included, becoming very skeptical about the advance of robotics and AI, it’s only natural to want to dig deeper into robotics industry statistics to see what the hype is all about.
Robots are replacing humans in virtually all industries—decades ago the car industry, for instance, used to employ a lot of people, but now machines do most of the work.
The advent of the robotics industry has numerous implications for humanity as a whole, and they are neither all positive nor all negative.
The robotics industry stats that we’ll address today will demonstrate just how complex the AI situation is.
Insightful Statistics About Robots (Editor’s Choice)
- Around 2.7 million industrial robots are working right now, globally.
- Each year, about 400,000 new industrial robots arrive at the market.
- South Korea has the biggest robotics density, with 900 robots per every 10,000 human employees.
- Mononofu, an 8.5 m tall Japanese samurai robot, is officially the biggest in the world (but not for long).
- The whole industry is worth around $40 billion.
- As of 2020, the medical robotics segment was worth $6 billion.
- Sales of non-automotive robots skyrocketed in 2020, increasing by 63%.
- The sexbots industry is on the rise, with special, customized sexbots selling for more than $50,000.
Robotics Industry Statistics for 2022
Did you know that the first robot can be traced back all the way to the 4th century BC?
That was when Archytas, a Greek philosopher, made a mechanical bird propelled by steam.
However, it wasn’t until the 12th century AD that the first robot with a practical purpose was created. Ismail al-Jazari, an Arabic polymath, designed a humanoid automaton that served drinks to people.
Why is robotics so important that people have been working on it for a couple of millennia?
Perhaps because of people’s interest in making life easier.
Perhaps because of humanity’s need to manipulate the environment.
Or maybe because we all want to see how far robotics can take the human race.
We’ll never know for sure, but instead of continuing to speculate, let’s dive deep into the industry’s key facts and figures.
1. Joseph F. Engelberger is the father of robotics.
Across the centuries and millennia, there were many brilliant philosophers, engineers, and thinkers who developed concepts that are somewhat similar to modern robots.
However, the first industrial robot is accredited to Engelberger and his associate, George Devol. In 1961, their company (Unimation Inc.) collaborated with General Motors to create the first robot with a mechanical arm.
After that, machines with mechanical arms became a standard across various industries.
2. There are more than 2.7 million industrial robots in the world.
(Source: Industry Europe)
The number of industrial robots in the world practically sets new records each year.
However, if you really want to know how many robots there are in the world, keep in mind that the two million figure above doesn’t include “private” robots, just the ones employed in big factories and facilities.
3. Each year, the market sees around 400,000 new industrial robots.
The number of new robots varies each year. For instance, 422,000 new robotic units were introduced in 2018, whereas 2019 only saw 373,000 industrial robots.
You guessed it—the pandemic. Robotics industry statistics suggest that the number of new robots actually fell in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Primarily because lockdowns forced many companies into lowering production output and even halting their operations. People simply didn’t go out as much, which meant they weren’t particularly eager to buy new vehicles.
4. In South Korea, companies use more than 900 robots per every 10,000 employees.
South Korea is the most “robotized” country in the world, followed by Singapore, which uses around 600 industry robots per every 10,000 employees.
Japan and Germany take the third and fourth places, with 390 and 371 robots, respectively.
One of the most interesting facts about robots is that the so-called big powers of the world—like the US, China, and Russia—are not even in the top five most robotized countries in the world.
5. Mononofu, a Japanese robot, is officially the largest in the world.
(Source: World Record Academy)
Mononofu means “samurai warrior” in Japan, and it was verified in 2018 as the largest humanoid robot in the world. You can rent it for around $1,000/hour.
Like other modern robots, Mononofu can move forwards and backwards (at 1 km/hour, but still), turn its upper body, and move its fingers. It weighs seven tons, is 28-feet tall, and looks like something that came right out of a Japanese anime.
But, as impressive as that may be, Mononofu is actually not the biggest robot in the world anymore—Gundam came to life in 2020 and is 60-feet tall!
However, since experts haven’t verified it, it can’t claim the title for the biggest robot in the world just yet.
Robotics Industry Market Size
The robotics market is already quite impressive, and you probably won’t be surprised when we tell you that it’ll grow even more in the upcoming years—or so experts suggest.
But did you know that China’s development is one of the main things driving that growth?
And not in the way you think.
China’s wages are on the rise, which means it’s no longer cheap-labor destination companies worldwide are looking for. This makes developing robots the next best way to keep expenses down and profits up.
6. There are six main types of robots in the industry.
Depending on their range of motion and physical characteristics, robots can be classified under the following categories:
- Articulated – They have rotary joints that allow them a full range of motion and precision.
- Cartesian – These can only operate in three axes (X, Y, Z), which makes them pretty good for assembly tasks.
- Cylindrical – They are able to move up, down, and around the cylindrical pole to which the arm is attached.
- Spherical – The first industrial robot was actually one of these. As the name indicates, these machines have a spherical work area.
- Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm – SCARA robots have human-like limbs and joints which makes them very good at packaging, kitting, and other operations.
- Delta – They look somewhat like spiders. They’re popular in the pharmaceutical, food, and electronic industries.
7. The whole robotics industry was worth around $40 billion in 2021.
The robots market had been on a steady upwards trend until 2019, when it reached $46.5 billion in revenue. But then COVID-19 came along and hindered the robotic industry’s growth—2020 saw only $37.8 billion in sales.
Nevertheless, experts are optimistic about the industry’s future. Some estimate the global robot market size will reach $189 billion by 2027, whereas others are more conservative with their projections, anticipating only $64 billion for 2027.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.
8. Fanuc has the largest industrial robotics market share—17%.
Fuji Automatic NUmerical Control (Fanuc) is one of the biggest Japanese companies and a global leader in CNC systems, laser technology, servo systems, and more.
ABB and KUKA are tied for second place, each accounting for 13.5% of the market. Finally, Yaskawa, another Japanese company, has the third-largest global robotics market share (12%).
Yaskawa is well-known for its automation of the welding process, but also for making robots that assemble, package, handle, and cut various materials.
9. Honeybee Robotics, Zipline, iRobot, and Cruise Automation are some of the top robotics companies in 2022.
(Source: Robotics Tomorrow)
There are many businesses that create robots nowadays, but these companies are particularly impressive.
For instance, Honeybee Robotics produces automated devices that can operate in the harshest of environments—even in space!
Zipline leads automated delivery, iRobot is behind market hits like the Roomba Vacuuming Robot, while Cruise Automation deals with AI-powered vehicles. They are among the leaders in self-driving cars, albeit companies like Tesla might disagree.
Industries That Use Robotics
Before 2020, most robots worked in car-assembly facilities, but the latest trends show a significant increase of non-automotive robot sales (63%).
In other words, many people are starting to employ robots in all spheres of life.
Although, to be fair, robots have been around for much longer than we usually think.
10. Robots have been going on space exploration missions since 1957.
(Source: Blog Biley)
The Sputnik was the first robot to ever make its way out of Earth, but it certainly wasn’t the last.
After the famous Russian robot came the US-made, Venus-bound Mariner 2. And then the Mariner 4 followed—this was the one that took the first close-up shots of Mars.
Then came the Vikings, the Voyagers, the Dextre, and many other fine examples of the advancement of robotics worldwide.
Robots aid astronauts in landing, orbiting, and collecting samples. They also perform difficult and dangerous tasks in space, like repairing ships.
11. The medical robots industry was worth around $5.9 billion in 2020.
(Source: Markets and Markets)
As is the case with most other branches of the automated device industry, medical robots are also on the rise—though this segment also experienced a pandemic-induced hiccup.
One of the most important facts about medical robots is that they are extremely helpful when it comes to difficult surgeries, training, and rehabilitation. It’s not that robots will replace surgeons, rather that doctors will use robots to improve their services.
Experts estimate the worldwide medical robots market will be worth $12 billion by 2025.
12. The US personal robots industry was worth $5.7 billion in 2019.
These are mostly “household” robots—that is, vacuuming, lawn mowing, cleaning, and entertainment robots.
According to robotics industry stats, people around the globe bought approximately 23 million personal robots in 2019, which represented a 34% increase compared to 2018.
Experts suggest sales will only increase in the years to come, as the price of automated devices continues to decrease.
13. The size of the social robot market will reach $912.5 million by 2026.
(Source: Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence)
Companion robots are becoming increasingly popular as people in developed countries seem to be getting lonelier and lonelier. In Japan, for instance, 14% of the total population lives alone.
Are you interested in some fun facts about robots?
Companion robots are pretty flexible. They can take care of the elderly, entertain children, be humanoid or animal-like, integrate with other smart home devices, and even function as a virtual assistant of sorts.
However, said flexibility makes it difficult to make accurate projections for the sector. Oftentimes, the line blurs when it comes to defining what a companion robot is…
14. A study showed that around 56% of sexbot users see their dolls as companions, not solely as a sex object.
Furthermore, statistics on robots suggests that 47% of sexbot users believe their relationship to be loving, 43% think there’s an emotional connection, and 30% feel it’s like a friendship.
There are all sorts of ethical debates around sexbots, starting from their looks and going all the way to their potential as psychotherapy tools—some researchers are even questioning whether or not sex dolls should have the ability to “consent” to sexual practices.
15. Abyss Creations sells around 600 sexbots each year.
(Source: Robot Report)
The fact that 95% of these are female sex dolls isn’t all that surprising considering robotics industry statistics show that men express more interest in trying out a sexbot than women do (40% vs 17%)—at least in the US.
Plus, studies suggest that most of the sexbots on the market were designed with heterosexual men’s preferences in mind.
Customized sex robots can sell for up to $50,000, whereas the “standard” models go for around $4,400.
Robotics Industry Trends
One of the most interesting facts about robots is the ambivalence people feel about cyborgs and artificial intelligence. Elon Musk, for example, isn’t really confident about AI being all nice and rosey.
But regardless of his and many others’ skepticism, there’s no question about the industry moving forward. It’s just a matter of which direction it’ll take and who the key players will be.
In this last section, we at Hosting Tribunal will explore these queries and even tell you which are the best robotics companies to invest in in 2022.
16. Projections suggest that the Asia-Pacific Region will see the steepest rise of industrial robots between 2020 and 2030.
This is not surprising, as Japan, China, and South Korea are some of the major players in the industrial robots market.
China, for instance, produced more than 300,000 industrial robots in 2021. It has been the largest market for industrial robots in the world since 2013.
The country intends to reach a density of 500 manufacturing robots per every 10,000 employees by 2025—though that’s nothing compared to South Korea’s 900/10,000 ratio.
17. If you’re looking for a safe bet in the robotics industry, you should look into ABB, HOLI, and IRBT.
ABB, Hollysys Automation Technologies, and iRobotics have the most stable and valuable stocks in the industry. ABB’s Trailing P/E ratio is 13.5, whereas Hollysys and iRobot are slightly above with 18.0 and 21.4, respectively.
However, if you’re more interested in robots’ rising stocks, you better check out Intuitive Surgical, Fanuc, and Aptiv PLC. The first two had around a 70% revenue growth in 2021, whereas the latter boasts a 94.2% increase.
18. Hanson Robotics’ Sophia is the best-known futuristic robot in the world.
(Source: Hanson Robotics)
Sophia is powered by AI and is somewhat successful in mimicking human emotions.
Hanson Robotics’ creation shows that when it comes to development of AI robots, we are moving towards the social robotics end of the spectrum. Companies seem to invest a lot of time and money into cosmetics lately—Sophia, for example, has a human-like skin and face.
Though the desirability of “humanizing” robots is also debatable.
19. The majority of people in the US (74%) are generally comfortable with using robots in everyday life.
However, robotics industry stats show that only 34% of the population feels “very comfortable” with introducing robots into their everyday lives—most people are just “somewhat comfortable” with the idea.
And that’s apparently comfortable-enough to actually buy one.
More than half of the respondents intend to buy a domestic robot within the next five years, and an additional 11% plan to wait a little more than that.
There you have it, all the robotics industry statistics you need to know in 2022.
The bottomline is—robots are here to stay, and they are slowly getting out of the automotive industry to take over the world. And they will probably do so regardless of the neverending debates on robots’ ethics and AI paranoia.
In fact, people are already using social robots more than you’d believe.