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Despite a slow final quarter, North American robot sales hit a record high in 2022, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). This is the second year in a row North American robot sales have set record highs.
North American companies ordered 44,196 robots in 2022, an 11% increase from 2021. Those sales were valued at $2.38 billion, an 18% increase from the year before.
Much of those sales occurred in the first nine months of the year. At the end of 2021, and into 2022, the industry saw three record-high quarters in a row. Sales began to slow in Q3, though they were still higher than in the same quarter in 2021.
The final quarter of 2022 saw the slowest sales of the year when North American companies only ordered 8,392 robots.
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2022’s record-high sales were primarily driven by a resurgence in orders from the automotive industry. Over ales of sales last year came from automotive companies, with 23,897 robots ordered, a 42% increase from automotive orders in 2021.
“Although labor shortage and supply chain issues impact nearly all industries in North America, automakers’ public commitment to move to electric vehicles has set in motion a resurgence of robot orders in this market,” Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, said. “Automotive OEMs and components suppliers alike recognize that investing in robots is instrumental to the emergence of EVs as well as to manufacturing all vehicles as they compete to meet customer demand.”
While automotive sales grew, non-automotive sales slowed down during 2022. Historically, the automotive industry has been the backbone of robotics sales, but 2020 and 2021 saw huge growth in non-automotive sales. In the first nine months of 2020 and 2021, non-automotive robotics sales topped automotive sales for the first time.
“While the numbers of robots sold to non-automotive companies isn’t as staggering as it’s been over the last couple of years, it’s clear that companies in every industry see automation as necessary for success,” Burnstein said.
It should be noted A3 only collects sales data on traditional industrial robots. It doesn’t collect data about autonomous mobile robots or collaborative robotic arms. If A3 recorded sales for these types of robots, too, sales numbers would be even higher.