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Strongest Year Ever For North America Robot Sales

Propelled by a surge in non-automotive sectors, the number of robots sold in North America set a new record in 2021, with 39,708 units sold at a value of $2 billion, a 14% increase over the previous high in 2017.

According to new industry statistics released today by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the number of robots sold in 2021 rose 28% over 2020. Record robot sales in the fourth quarter of the year, up 9% over Q4 2020, demonstrated the strong momentum already realized through the previous nine months as more industries look to automation to increase productivity and alleviate ongoing labor shortages.

“More industries recognized that robotics could help reverse productivity declines and fill repetitive jobs human workers don’t want. It is no longer a choice whether to deploy robots and automation,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “It’s now an absolute imperative. As we’ve long believed—and users continue to confirm—robots help companies compete, ultimately creating more jobs to handle their growth.” 

Non-Automotive Ordering More Robots

Non-automotive orders represented 58% of the North American total. Unit sales to non-automotive industries saw the following increases in 2021 over 2020. Metals up over 91% over 2020; Food and Consumer Goods up 29%; Semiconductors and Electronics/Photonics up 2%; Plastics and Rubber up 4%; Life Sciences/Pharma/Biomed up 4%; All Other Industries up 65%.

October through December of 2021 marked the highest and second-highest quarter on record for units and revenue, respectively. Non-automotive customers ordered 6,618 robots in Q4, which represents 61% of total units ordered. Automotive-related customers purchased 4,211 units, 39% of total orders.

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