Consumer robotics market to hit 100m shipments by 2026

Written by NTN staff
16/05/18

The market will be driven by homecare robotics and Asia-Pacific, taking it past 100 million shipments in less than ten year.

The consumer robotics market covers a wide array of products, from homecare systems to children’s toys to smart ‘humanoid’ robots that provide personal and social engagement. According to ABI Research this market will reach 100 million shipments and $23 billion in revenue by 2026.

Homecare robots are already the primary driver of revenue for the wider consumer robotics market. This trend is expected to increase, following a banner year of revenue and shipment growth from floor care market leader iRobot. While iRobot dominates the American and European markets, Chinese manufacturers such as Ecovacs are beginning to post comparable shipment figures, and long-term, Asia-Pacific will closely match North America and Europe in market share for homecare robots.

“Mobile personal robots will resemble many of the higher-end entertainment robots in appearance, but will possess more advanced technologies, including cellular technology, Wi-Fi connectivity, and possibly even on-device machine learning,” says Rian Whitton, Research Analyst at ABI Research.

There are several toys that could already fall under the definition of personal robots, such as WowWee’s Robosapien. A further example might be Anki’s Cozmo, an educational toy robot designed to teach coding principles to children.

In addition, niche segments, such as pool cleaning, have begun to expand in popularity. Israeli-cantered market leader Maytronics has recently expanded into the American market and posting double-digit growth over a consistent time frame.

By contrast, the toys and entertainment segment will decline in market share. Their share of shipments will decrease from 75% in 2014 to 47.1% in 2026 (still the largest segment), while their share of revenue will crater from 31.7% to 10% in the same period. The reason for this relative decline is in part a question of semantics. In this same period, personal/social robots are expected to increase their market share of revenue from virtually nothing to 21.3% in 2026.

The market is still at a nascent stage, even though Intel Capital made its first-ever investment in robotics back in 2011, a $13m funding round for Aldebaran Robotics, a Paris-based designer of humanoid robots.

More recently, last week China-based humanoid robot manufacturing UBTECH Robotics, which develops a range of robots for consumers, education, and businesses, raised $820 million, valuing the company at $5 billion, one of the world’s biggest robotics and artificial intelligence investment rounds.

The latest round was led by Asia’s most valuable company, Tencent, which has launched or funded a range of AI, machine learning, and other connected products in recent years. Other investors include ICBC; Haier; Minsheng Securities; Telstra; Chia Tai Group; China Minsheng Bank; China Film and TV Capital; CGN; Sichuan Railway Investment Group; Green Pine Capital Partners; Whale Capital; and Shenzhen JinFuZi Network Technology.

UBTECH not only wants to expand its range of intelligent humanoid robots and “put a robot in every home”, but also to create bigger ones that are underpinned by motion control algorithms and computer vision technology. The firm is also looking to build an ecosystem of services and content for its robots.