Sales of professional service robots rose by an impressive 37% in 2021. By region, the strongest growth came from Europe with a market share of 38% followed by North America with 32% and Asia with 30%. At the same time, sales of new consumer service robots grew by 9%, according to the World Robotics 2022 – Service Robots report, issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
“Service robots for professional use are extremely diverse,” says IFR president Marina Bill. “They are usually designed to perform a specific task and can be found in warehouses, in hospitals and airports or even helping on dairy farms automatically milking cows.”
About 121,000 professional service robots were sold in 2021. More than one out of every three built were targeted for the transportation of goods or cargo. The majority thereof are used in indoor environments like factories.
Hospitality robots enjoy growing popularity but ,compared to market potential, sales figures are still low: More than 20,000 units (+85%) were sold in 2021. Robots in this category are either used for food and drink preparation or for mobile guidance, information, and telepresence.
Sales of medical robots were up 23% to 14,823 units. The majority are surgical robots, followed by robots for rehabilitation and non-invasive therapy, while the share of robots for diagnostics is still comparably low.
Bill says: “Service robots for consumers are mainly used in domestic environments: They help with vacuuming, floor-cleaning, or gardening, and are also used for social interaction and education. “These service robots are produced for a mass market with completely different pricing and marketing compared to service robots for professional use.”
Robots for domestic tasks constituted the largest group of consumer robots. Almost 19-million units (+12%) were sold in 2021. Vacuuming robots and other robots for indoor domestic floor cleaning are currently the most used application.