Robot sales hit record high in first quarter of 2022

A3 tracks the number of industrial robots sold in North America. | Source: A3

Robot sales hit a record high in the first quarter of 2022, with North American companies purchasing the most robots ever in a single quarter, according to industry statistics release by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). 

Robot sales increased 28% from Q1 of 2021, when North American companies purchased 9,098 units, to 11,595 units sold in 2022. Sales increased 43% from $466 million in Q1 2021, to $646 million in 2022. 

Of the 11,595 units sold in Q1 of 2022, 6,122 units went to non-automotive customers, while 5,476 went to automotive customers. Traditionally, automotive robot sales have outpaced non-automotive sales, but that trend has shifted since 2020, when non-automotive sales outpaced automotive sales for the first time. 

Within the automotive industry, automotive OEMs ordered 15% more units in Q1 2022 than in the same quarter in 2021, while automotive component companies ordered 22% more. 

“Every industry, including agriculture, construction, retail and hospitality, is now looking at how they can take advantage of robotics to make their companies more successful,” Alex Shikany, A3’s vice president of membership and business intelligence, said. “These companies recognize what we at A3 have long believed, that robots can not only take over the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs that are so hard to fill, but they can save and create jobs as automation helps them grow their business.”

Each industry segment that A3 looked at saw double digit growth in robot unit sales in Q1 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2021. Metals saw a 40% increase, plastics and rubber a 29% increase, semiconductors and electronics/photonics increased 23%, food and consumer goods increased 14% and all other industries saw a 56% increase. 

It should be noted A3 only collects sales data on traditional industrial robots. It doesn’t collect data about autonomous mobile robots or collaborative robotic arms. If A3 recorded sales for these types of robots, too, sales numbers would be even higher.

According to A3, the industry’s last highest quarter was Q4 of 2021. Q1 of 2022 saw a 7% increase in unit sales and a 25% increase in sales from Q4. 

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