APAC leads the way in robotics spending – IDC research

Maria Nikolova

While manufacturing keeps increasing its spending on robotics, the financial services industry is not seen amid the top industries investing in this type of technology.

The amount of money spent on robotics and related services across the world is set to increase from $91.5 billion in 2016 to more than $188 billion in 2020, according to the latest edition of Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC). The report covers spending data on robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and after-market robotics hardware, as well as on commercial purchase of drones and after-market drone hardware.

Amid regions, Asia Pacific is the absolute leader, with spending on robotics and related services set to jump more than twofold, from $60 billion in 2016 to more than $133 billion in 2020, or at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22%. In 2016, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) was the second largest region in terms of expenditure on robotics, with a spending of $14.7 billion, followed by the Americas with a 2016 spending total of $12.9 billion.

APAC’s lead in the ranking is far from surprising, given the hectic rate of industrial development at China, Korea and Japan.

More interesting, however, is the allocation of spending across sectors. Manufacturing continues to dominate worldwide: in 2016, it accounted for more than a half of overall spending on robotics, with the trend set to persist during the forecast period. Following manufacturing, the three industries with the largest robotics spending last year were Resource Industries ($8 billion), Consumer ($6.5 billion), and Healthcare ($4.5 billion).

The financial services sector is nowhere to be found in the key findings, which means that although some investment on its part in robotics is made, it is largely irrelevant to the major trends.

However, John Santagate, research manager, Supply Chain at IDC Manufacturing Insights, noted that “Innovators in the field of robotics are delivering robots that can be used to perform a broader range of tasks, which is helping to drive the adoption of robotics into a wider base of industries.”

Moreover, Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director, Worldwide Robotics and Asia Pacific Manufacturing Insights, IDC Asia/Pacific added that “In Asia Pacific, we are seeing accelerated growth in robotics adoption beyond manufacturing, especially in commercial and consumer service robotics.”

The data, however, indicates that optimism about increased adoption of robots in the financial services sector is premature. Talk of bots replacing human staff may be relevant in Japan or any other APAC country, given the broader trend of spending on robotics in the APAC region. But the data does not allow to make any decisive conclusions about the solidification of the financial services- robotics relationship worldwide.

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