Sales of industrial robots hit a record 486,800 units: IFR

Sales of industrial robots reached a record 486,800 units in 2021, a 27% increase over the previous year, according to the report by the International Federation of Robotics.
Industrial robot installations in Asia/Australia increased by 33% to 354,500 units. Spending on industrial robots in the Americas increased by 27% with 49,400 units sold. Demand for industrial robots in Europe reached double-digit growth of 15% with 78,000 units installed.

“Due to the current trend of automation and continuous technological innovation, demand has reached high levels across all industries. In 2021, even the pre-pandemic record of 422,000 installations per year in 2018 has been surpassed,” Milton Guerry, president of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), said in a statement.

In 2021, the main driver of growth was the electronics industry (132,000 installations, +21%), which overtook the automotive industry (109,000 installations, +37%) as the number one industrial robot customer as of 2020 .


In 2021, industrial robot installations in Europe recovered after two years of decline – surpassing the peak of 75,600 units in 2018. Demand from the largest adopter, the automotive industry, moved sideways at a high level (19 300 installs, +/- 0% ). Demand for metals and machinery grew strongly (15,500 installs, +50%), followed by plastics and chemicals (7,700 installs, +30%).


In the Americas, the number of industrial robot installations reached the second best result ever, only surpassed by the record year 2018 (55,200 installations). The largest US market, the United States, shipped 33,800 units, representing a 68% market share.


Asia remains the largest market for industrial robots in the world: 73% of all newly deployed robots in 2021 were installed in Asia. A total of 354,500 units were shipped in 2021, up 33% from 2020. The electronics industry adopted by far the most units (123,800 installs, +22%), followed by strong demand the automotive industry (72,600 installations, +57 percent) and the metallurgical and mechanical industry (36,400 installations, +29 percent).

Mavis R. Bernier