Subscribe Button 1

Machine Vision Navigates Through Uncertain Times In Europe

The machine vision industry in Europe has been reporting record sales for years. Between 2012 and 2022, sales increased by an average of 9 percent per year. In 2020, sales fell by 4 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic, but recovered significantly in 2021 (plus 17 percent) and 2022 (plus 11 percent).

“The European machine vision industry has achieved exceptional growth over the past decade and is a very attractive industry,” said Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Board of VDMA’s Machine Vision Department. “Unfortunately, due to the current economic and geopolitical situation, we were unable to match the records of previous years. Although we are seeing initial improvements, it is unlikely that the European machine vision industry will return to growth before the end of 2024.”

Based on the latest VDMA surveys, the European machine vision industry recorded a 7 percent decline in sales in 2023. The VDMA Machine Vision department expects a further decline in sales of 3 percent for the current year.

Weak Economy and Declining Exports: Overall, 2023 was a difficult year, not only for the machine vision industry. The weaker global economy and crises such as the war in Ukraine continue to weigh on companies. Demand in Europe fell by 4 percent. Export-oriented companies in particular were hit hard by the declining demand for European machine vision in Asia (-21 percent) and North America (-18 percent).

German Machine Vision Industry: Turnover doubled since 2013 According to the VDMA market survey, the turnover of the German machine vision industry has doubled in the last ten years. While the industry achieved sales of 1.6 billion euros with “machine vision made in Germany” in 2013, it most recently recorded sales of 3.2 billion euros, despite a decline in sales of 7 percent in 2023.

Upturn Expected From Autumn: The European machine vision industry is looking forward to 2024 with a subdued mood. Due to the prevailing uncertainties, many customers are reluctant to invest. The machine vision industry’s order backlogs are melting away, orders are being postponed. Business expectations for 2024 deteriorated again in November and December 2023. For the first time since 2009, the VDMA Machine Vision department is publishing a negative forecast. But the highly diversified customer base helps to cushion the impact. Many branches of industry and many visionary products rely on computer / machine vision.

Long-Term Outlook Remains Positive: Machine vision plays a key role in the global automation trend. Not only in the traditional branches of industry, but also outside the factory environment, companies rely on image processing. High quality, productivity and competitiveness, greater autonomy and increased safety – these are decisive application factors for image processing. With the emergence of new AI technologies and approaches, the market potential for machine vision technology continues to increase. Despite existing uncertainties and challenges, one thing is certain for the VDMA Machine Vision department: The European machine vision industry will continue to write success stories.

The VDMA Machine Vision department expects a change in trend from autumn 2024. The industry is looking forward to VISION 2024 and expects further impetus from the world’s leading trade fair for machine vision.

For more information: