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Robot sales in North America have strongest year ever in 2021

By Association for Advancing Automation Press Release

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.

2021 shows continued trend of non-automotive ordering more robots

Non-automotive orders now represent 58% of the North American total. Unit sales to non-automotive industries saw the following increases in 2021 over 2020: 

  • Metals: up 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%  

Q4 sales and value explained

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. The following non-automotive industries in Q4 saw increases over the same quarter in 2020:

  • Metals:  Up 23%  
  • Food and Consumer Goods: Up 14%  
  • Semi and Electronics/Photonics:  Up 12%  
  • Plastics and Rubber: Down 25%  
  • All Other Industries:  Up 74%  
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