Robot orders soften in N. America

May 16, 2023
Demand remains strong in the automotive segment, but sales of robots to customers in other segments show big drop.
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Following years of strong robot sales, North American companies ordered fewer in the first quarter of 2023 than the same period last year. A report from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) said companies in Q1 2023 ordered 9,168 units at a value of $597 million, which marked a 21 percent drop in total units and a 10 percent drop in value over the same quarter in 2022 — the third-best quarter on record for North America.  

Sales remained strong among customers in the automotive industry, which accounted for 68 percent of all robot orders in Q1, or 5,659 robots purchased. In the same period, orders from companies involved in the consumer goods, semiconductor and electronics, plastics and rubber, life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical, metals, and other segments purchased 3,519 robots, a 42 percent drop from Q1 2022.  

“While inflation and a slowing U.S. economy may have taken a slight toll on robot orders overall, automotive companies continue to accelerate their purchases as they make the transition to manufacturing electric vehicles,” A3 President Jeff Burnstein said. “Non-automotive companies are typically newer to automation and may be waiting to invest more until they’ve tested recent deployments or see the economy begin to recover.”