Global spending on drones, robotics to reach $103B in 2018: IDC

A report from analyst firm IDC forecasts worldwide spending on robotics and drones solutions will total $103.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 22.1% over 2017.

By 2021, IDC expects this spending will more than double to $218.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) or 25.4%.

Robotics spending will reach $94 billion in 2018 and will account for more than 90% of all spending throughout the 2017-2021 forecast.

Industrial robotic solutions will account for the largest share of robotics spending (more than 70%), followed by service robots and consumer robots.

“Industrial robots are becoming more intelligent, human-friendly and easier to work with,” said Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, research director for robotics at IDC.

“This has accelerated their rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry beyond automotive, especially in high-tech manufacturing that requires light-weight robots with higher precision, flexibility, mobility and collaborative capability. Vendors who are not able to meet such demands will see their market position quickly eroded.”

Worldwide drone spending will be $9 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall market with a five-year CAGR of 29.8%.

Enterprise drone solutions will deliver more than half of all drone spending throughout the forecast period with the balance coming from consumer drone solutions.

Enterprise drones will increase its share of overall spending with a five-year CAGR of 36.6%. The utilities and construction industries will see the largest drone spending in 2018 ($912 million and $824 million, respectively), followed by the process and discrete manufacturing industries.

The fastest growth in drone spending will come from the education (74.1% CAGR) and state/local government (70.5% CAGR) industries.

“Drones have become an indispensable tool, especially in industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, and telecommunications. In many instances, drones have helped reduce their employees’ exposure to dangerous tasks such as cell tower or electrical grid inspection,” said William Stofega, program director for mobile device technology and trends at IDC.

“Farmers have also utilized drones to help monitor their land for irrigation deficiencies. While there is a growing number of consumer drone enthusiasts, we expect that drones will soon become part of the connected-home providing home security, monitoring children at play, or delivering groceries.”

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