Logistics robotics market could grow 5200% by 2044 claims consultancy

Spending on mobile robots in logistics estimated to be 261-times bigger in 2022 than in 2015 and market set for more growth according to IDTechEx

Image credit: DHL

The logistics robotics market is poised for exponential growth, with a potential surge of 5200% by 2044, as per insights from IDTechEx. The consultancy's projections indicate a robust double-digit Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next two decades, driving the annual market size for mobile robotics in logistics and delivery to nearly US$150 billion.

Investment in mobile robotics has skyrocketed in recent years, with cumulative funding expanding by a staggering 261 times over from 2015 to 2022 according to IDTechEx estimates. This surge underscores the strong demand and rapid expansion within the industry, propelled by factors such as rising labour costs, labour shortages, and the escalating demands of e-commerce and logistics.

IDTechEx's observations reveal varying growth rates among different types of mobile robots, with intralogistics emerging as the largest application for mobile robots as of 2023.

This dominance is expected to continue in the medium-term, driven by labour market dynamics within warehouse environments.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) currently outpace autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in adoption due to their simpler design, relying on infrastructure like tapes and grids for navigation. However, advancements in navigation sensors such as LiDAR and cameras are anticipated to fuel AMR adoption by the late 2020s. IDTechEx predicts a substantial 52-fold increase in the annual market size of AMRs for intralogistics by 2044 compared to 2023.

Last-mile delivery robots also present a significant growth opportunity, with a projected CAGR of 30.7% from 2023 to 2044. Ground-based vehicles are expected to witness rapid growth, driven primarily by less stringent regulations compared to aerial drones.

However, 2023 marked out a down year for robot acquisition and adoption after a blockbuster 2022. According to the Association for Advancing Automation, acquisitions of robots in North America fell 30% year-on-year, which marked the largest drop ever in terms of units and the highest in percentage terms since 2006. The research noted that sales had been hit by reduced demand for goods and higher interest rates pushing back investment plans.

The report did note though that warehousing and distribution were sectors destined to become more important for robot acquisitions, set to surpass the automotive sector in the near future, but also offers a reminder that expansion will fluctuate and this may be on the upper end of estimated growth rates.

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