Channel partners to see opportunities as spending on services for both expands
The robotics system and drone markets will be ones IT vendors and channel players will want to keep an eye on in the coming years, according to analysts at IDC.
The Lowdown: In a report this month, the market research firm said both spaces will see rapid growth through 2023 as industries from manufacturing and utilities to health care and retail embrace robots and drones in their operations.
The Details: Spending globally on both robotics and drones will reach $128.7 billion this year – a jump of 17.1% over 2019 – and grow to $241.4 billion by 2023, an annual growth rate of 19.8%. Of the two segments, robotics systems will be the largest, growing to $112.4 billion this year. Hardware – including systems, after-market hardware, and system hardware – will make up 60% of the purchases. Organizations will spend more than $30 billion on industrial and service robots in 2020.
Software spending in the robotics space will focus on command-and-control applications and robotics-specific software.
Of importance to the channel, service spending will touch on systems integration, application management, and hardware deployment and support. Services spending will grow at 21.3% a year, faster than both software (21.2%) and hardware (15.5%).
Discrete manufacturing will account for almost half of the worldwide spending on robotics systems, reaching $53.8 billion. Other industries with significant spending will be process manufacturing, resource industries, health care, and retail. Wholesale, retail, and construction will see the fastest growth in spending through 2023.
Spending on drones this year will hit $16.3 billion but will grow at 33.3% a year into 2023. Spending will have a strong consumer flavor this year – about $6.5 billion, or almost 40% – but industry spending on drones will be led by utilities, construction, discrete manufacturing, and resource companies, with spending ranging from $1.9 billion to $1.2 billion. The fastest growth in spending will come from government and education.
Hardware will represent more than 90% of spending, with consumer drones, after-market sensors, and service drones leading the way in 2020. Software spending will primarily center on command-and-control and drone-specific applications. Service spending will center on education and training.
The Buzz: “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 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 of IDC’s Worldwide Robotics: Commercial Service Robots service. “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.”
“Despite movement toward a trade agreement between the U.S. and China, it appears that tariffs may remain in place on many robotics systems. This will have a negative impact on both the manufacturing and resource industries, where robotics adoption has been strong. The additional duties will likely slow investment in the robotics systems used in manufacturing processes, automated supply chains, and mining operations,” said Jessica Goepfert, program vice president of IDC’s Customer Insights and Analysis unit.
“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 for Customer Insights and Analysis. “Elsewhere, robotics manufacturers will continue to face the one-two punch of higher costs for both materials and imported components.”