Warehouse Robotics Market With COVID-19 Impact Analysis

Author : Puja Patange | Published On : 22 Sep 2021

[268 Pages Report] The global warehouse robotics market size is expected to be USD 4.7 Billion in 2021 to USD 9.1 Billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 14.0%. Warehouse robotics are used to automate different warehouse functions, such as transportation, picking and placing, packaging, and palletizing and de-palletizing. The use of warehouse robots reduces the need for human intervention and increases the efficiency of warehouse operations. They find applications in various industries, such as e-commerce, automotive, electrical & electronics, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical.

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COVID-19 Impact on the Global Warehouse Robotics market

The outbreak and widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic has highly impacted the supply chains and accelerated the adoption of robots in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. 2020 was a crucial year for e-commerce companies, retailers, grocers, and package handling logistics providers. The outbreak of the pandemic significantly accelerated the need for automation, which was steadily growing in the pre-COVID-19 period. The growth of the market for fixed types of robots was mainly affected by the pandemic, however, the mobile robot market is expected to witness healthy growth in the post-pandemic period.

Online distribution during the pandemic crisis has shifted to a higher gear, as other retail channels have witnessed a slowdown in operations. Leading warehouse operators are now required to move more products while maintaining social distancing guidelines. This, in turn, is expected to create an opportunity for warehouse automation.

Warehouse Robotics Market Dynamics

Driver: Expanding e-commerce industry

The e-commerce industry has evolved at a tremendous pace. E-commerce companies hold large volumes of products in their warehouses to cater to the increasing incoming demand through online shopping platforms. Thus, they are constantly looking for various economical ways to reduce their order delivery times. Robotic systems have emerged as a comprehensive solution and are gaining popularity among e-commerce companies to handle order fulfillment processes efficiently. Companies are increasingly using robotic systems in their warehouses to ensure rapid delivery of orders. A warehouse robot offers flexible material movement, traceability and improves the worker’s safety. The leading players in the e-commerce industry, such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., DHL, and Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd., have started using robots to automate their warehouse operations. The UK has one of the most mature e-commerce markets in the world, which is witnessing high adoption of warehouse robots. Companies such as Ocado and DHL are making high investments in the deployment of robotic systems in the UK. As per our analysis, the global e-commerce market has grown at a rate of 30% between 2019 and 2020, owing to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing demand for robots in the rapidly growing e-commerce industry is expected to drive the growth of the warehouse robotics market.

Restraint: High set up cost

High capital is required to set up and install warehouse robots. An average cost of a mobile robot varies from USD 25,000 to USD 100,000, whereas the average cost of a fixed robot ranges from USD 40,000 to USD 400,000. The high costs of these robots hamper their adoption, which, as a result, affects the growth of the warehouse robotics market. Furthermore, the warehouse operators need to redesign their warehouse layouts to support the warehouse robotics system to carry out their operations efficiently. While designing a new layout, companies need to focus on key aspects such as the safety of workers, space utilization, and easy accessibility to items.

Opportunity: Integration of Industry 4.0 with warehouse robots

Industry 4.0 aims at creating an operational environment in which people and robots can work together. It also allows robots to receive specific instructions and respond to the environment around them. Industry 4.0 enables warehousing facilities to adapt to significant changes in their business. Furthermore, the integration of Industry 4.0 and warehouse robotics systems enables effective communication between warehouse operations. This increased coordination between warehouse systems is helping warehouse operators to perform time-critical and high-velocity operations at a lower cost in the highly demanding and continuously evolving ecosystem. It is also allowing companies to perform a wide range of tasks, such as processing customized orders and high-speed delivery of products.

Challenge: Concerns regarding cybersecurity

Industry 4.0 connects production processes to the outside world, including collaborative robots. Connected processes are vulnerable to rising cybersecurity risks. Robots can be vulnerable if they are not integrated with updated software. Inadequate network administration can be a risk for connected robotics and lead to industrial espionage, malware installations, or automated attacks. Security, data privacy, technology, infrastructure and process upgrades, and interoperability are areas of concern before robotic systems in IIoT can reach their full potential. A major concern for IIoT is interoperability between devices and machines or devices and robots that use different protocols and have different architectures. To fulfill the complex demands for IIoT, the market players would require significant research and development (R&D), innovation, and investments.

AMRs to dominate the market during the forecast period

The warehouse robotics market for AMRs is expected to dominate and exhibit the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The increasing preference for e-commerce shopping platforms and the growing need for enhancing the efficiency of warehouses have led companies to focus on automation of operations. Besides, the increasing affordability and return on investment (ROI) are expected to drive the growth of the market. Flexibility and efficiency have become primary differentiators in the e-commerce fulfillment market as retailers and logistic companies are struggling to cope up with fluctuating demands, seasonal peaks, and rising delivery expectations. Mobile robotic systems offer high operational flexibility. In addition, the advancements in artificial intelligence, deep learning, and robotic mechanics are increasing their capabilities.

 E-commerce vertical is expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period

E-commerce trends are influencing the warehousing, manufacturing, and logistics industries, indicating that it is becoming increasingly important for these industries to optimize and develop automated solutions. The growing demand for quick order supply to customers in an accurate and undamaged form, increasing competition in the e-commerce industry, and rapid rise in online shopping are the key factors expected to drive the growth of the warehouse robotics market for the e-commerce industry.