In 2017, 380,600 industrial robots were sold globally, increasing 29.3% on year, according to World Industrial Robot 2018 published by International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
Of the total, 125,400 were purchased by users in the automaking industry, growing 21% on year. Shipments to the manufacturing industries of metals, electronics/electric appliances and food rose 54%, 27% and 19% respectively. Although growth in global car sales is slowing down, automakers keep hiking automation of production, especially China-based ones and makers of electric vehicles.
Among regional markets, 255,000 industrial robots were sold in Asia and Australia, up 34% on year; 67,000 units in Europe, up 20%; and 50,000 units in North and Latin Americas, up 22%.
China, South Korea and Japan were the three largest country markets with sales of 138,000, 40,000 and 39,000 units respectively. The US ranked fourth with 33,000 units, followed by Germany (22,000) and Taiwan (11,000).
Manufacturing industries around the world recorded an average use density of 74 industrial robots per 10,000 workers, with South Korea posting the highest density of 631 units per 10,000 workers. Taiwan's use density stood at 177 industrial robots per 10,000 workers, ranking 10th globally. While China ranked 23rd, its government aims to advance the country to the top-10 in terms of industrial automation with use density to rise to over 150 industrial robots per 10,000 workers in 2020.