Interact Analysis released their latest survey report from a recent research project conducted together with the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 commissioned the report to coincide with the 2021 Automate Forward event happening during the week of March 22, 2021. Interact Analysis Research Director and report author Ash Sharma summarized the results in a new article on the Interact Analysis website.
- Robot companies are generally positive about business in the next 18 months
- Growth in excess of 10% anticipated for 2021
- Automotive and food & beverage expected to be top drivers of growth
The Interact Analysis report is free, and covers sentiments about the state of the industry and what suppliers think about current market conditions. The results are timely, as the robotics and automation industry looks beyond the pandemic and starts planning for a recovery and a return to normal business operations. Over 200 respondents from automation related companies, with combined revenues in excess of $50 billion, responded to the survey. Data for the survey was gathered from mid February 2021 to mid March 2021.
It’s worth noting that A3 is primarily a North America trade organization. The majority of A3 members and survey respondents are from North America (USA, Canada, Mexico), or from companies that do business in North America. Overall, manufacturers of robots are bullish on the market growth in the next 12-24 months, based on the responses in the survey. Automotive and food & beverage are expected to be top verticals for growth in the next couple of years.
Respondents were asked to rank the largest end user growth drivers for their companies, and automotive and food & beverage were among the most common choices – accounting for over a third of responses. Automotive took up a full 40% of first choices for manufacturers of machine vision products.
Travel restrictions are the biggest challenge
Respondents also noted that restrictions on travel, and the ability to see/visit customers is one of the biggest challenges over the last year. Less than 20% said that weak customer demand was an issue.
The robot suppliers who responded to the survey were the most optimistic about the recovery period, post-COVID. As shown in the chart below, these respondents were positive about the future, in every category.
The bottom line for most of the respondents to the survey is the expectation that sometime between February 2022 and August 2022, most automation suppliers believe that business as a whole will have recovered completely from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some market verticals will be slower to recover than others, but the majority of survey respondents are seeing positive recovery signs already.