India records robot boom at all-time high
Sales of industrial robots in India have reached a new record with 4,945 units installed. This is an increase of 54 percent compared to the previous year (2020: 3,215 units). India now ranks tenth in the world in terms of annual installations. These are the findings of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) World Robotics statistical yearbook.
“India is among the fastest growing industrial nations in the world,” says Marina Bill, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “Within five years, the operational inventory of industrial robots has more than doubled, reaching a total of 33,220 units in 2021. Since 2016, that represents an average annual growth rate of 16 percent.”
In terms of manufacturing output, India is now the world’s fifth-largest economy. According to the World Bank, the value added of India’s manufacturing sector in 2021 was $443.9 billion. This corresponds to a year-on-year increase of 21.6 percent.
The automotive industry remains the largest customer for the robotics industry in India, with a market share of 31 percent in 2021. The number of installations more than doubled to 1,547 units (+ 108 percent). General Industry in India is led by the metals industry with 308 units (- 9 percent), followed by the rubber and plastics industry with 246 units (+ 27 percent) and the electrical/electronics industry with 215 units (+ 98 percent).
Strong growth potential
The long-term potential for robotics in India can be particularly illustrated with a comparison to China: India’s robot density in the automotive industry, i.e. the number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees, will reach a total of 148 units in 2021. China’s robot density was as low as 131 units in 2010 and jumped to 772 units by 2021.
The Indian government supports the growth of the industrial sector as one of the most important factors affecting gross domestic product (GDP). As reported by the International Monetary Fund, the country’s GDP now ranks fifth in the world at around $3 trillion, neck-and-neck with the UK and France – behind Germany, Japan, China and the US.
“After the experience of recent disruptions to international supply chains, companies are rethinking their nearshoring strategies in Southeast Asia,” says Marina Bill. “India has traditionally been a popular destination for nearshoring in the manufacturing sector in this regard. The Indian government’s goal is to be considered by foreign companies for new diversification options, such as partnering in so-called ‘friendshoring’ as a country that shares similar values and interests.”
The manufacturing sector should also benefit from the government’s initiatives to increase India’s competitiveness and attractiveness for investors. For example, the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) program runs through 2025. This will subsidize companies that create production capacities in India in customer industries for robotics. These include, for example, the automotive, metal, pharmaceutical and food industries.
Robots help create new jobs
New production capacities are an important step toward providing the Indian population with adequate education and employment opportunities: According to United Nations projections, India has now reached a population of 1.4 billion, surpassing China for the first time. This means that India has a large and young workforce that can drive economic growth and innovation. According to the forecasts, India will be the economy with the world’s largest working-age population by 2027.