As per the publisher’s latest market research and analysis, Warehouse Automation Market is expected to touch the mark of $41 Billion by 2027, at a CAGR of almost 15% between 2020 and 2025. The growth of this market can be attributed to the growth in the e-commerce industry, multichannel distribution channels, e-grocery penetration with dark stores & ultrafast delivery services, globalization of supply chain networks, emergence of autonomous mobile robots and rising need for same day / same hour delivery. The boom in e-commerce is compounding the major labour challenges faced by the $5T global logistics industry. Not only are shipment volumes growing rapidly, but online retail also typically requires more logistical work per item than brick & mortar retail. Indeed, online purchases require individual picking packing and shipping, as opposed to the bulk transportation models of traditional brick & mortar retail.
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Of course, the push to automate the warehouses was in full force before the Covid-19 but global pandemic forced the companies to change their strategy w.r.t warehouse automation from “good to have” category to “must to have” if they have to sustain in this industry. One of the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic is that mega-trends like aging population, globalisation, health & safety, mobility, green logistics, autonomous world, urbanisation, individualisation and digitization need to be given more consideration and weight than in the past with a long-term vision so that we are ready with any challenge.
Post pandemic, most important and emerging trends have been eGrocery growth, Micro-Fulfillment Centers, Dark Stores and automated cold storages. Huge investment for start-ups like Takeoff technologies, Fabric, Attabotics, Exotec Solutions, Hai Robotics, Addverb Technologies, SEER, Dexterity, Nuro, and Youibot are witnessing this growth along with presence of existing big players like Dematic, Honeywell Intelligrated, SSI Schafer, Knapp, Daifuku, Muratec, AutoStore, and Toyota Advance Logistics. Retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Coop, Woolworths, Amazon, Ocado, Meijer, Carrefour, H-E-B, Albertsons, and Ahold Delhaize have already started adopting and implementing these new technologies during pandemic. Apart this, piece picking players such as Righthand Robotics, Nimble, Fizyr, Kindred, Covariant, OSARO, Plus One Robotics, Berkshire Grey, and AWL have established a new attractive capability for order picking in ecommerce fulfillment as picking is least automated process in existing warehouses.
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- United States, China and Germany are the largest markets with more than 50% share for Warehouse Automation both with regards to demand as well as the presence of OEMs and System Integrators. Europe is a big hub for OEMs, with strong presence in Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, and Spain. Western Europe is a big market accounting ~30% of the overall global market
- Most of the fastest growing markets are concentrated in APAC, mainly in South Asia (India) and South-East Asia. Middle East is another exciting opportunity and is well suited in terms of geography with European players looking to expand their offerings in the region. Latin America is still under-penetrated with regards to automation; however, things are set to change and market is set to observe a high growth in Brazil and Mexico. Within Europe, Central and Eastern Europe is a fast-growing region, with Poland and Czech Republic emerging as logistics hub and showing good growth prospects. However, given the current geopolitical situation with Russia-Ukraine war, expansion and investment plans have been put on hold
- AGV/AMR market is expected to be biggest market in 2027 with a CAGR of 40%. AMR (without any external support of optical tape, sensor or vision) is going to be main contributor in the warehouses due to high demand in e-commerce sector and its flexibility to deploy the robot without any major change in the existing warehouse infrastructure. However, it is a bit slow in terms of pick rate per hour as compared to ASRS but is preferred in small and medium warehouses due to lower cost and quick deployment. It is expected that AGVs/AMRs are going to have more than 24% market share by 2027 in overall warehouse automation market led by players like Seegrid, Balyo, Hai Robotics, Geek+, GreyOrange, HikRobot, Quicktron, Locus Robotics, Fetch Robotics (Zebra), 6 River Systems, Teradyne (MiR, AutoGuide Mobile Robots), Rocla, JBT, ek-robotics, Omron etc
- The Grocery industry is one of the most challenging and attractive industries from a logistics perspective. Grocery distributors ship high cubic volumes of merchandise to retail stores with frequent deliveries to ensure product freshness. Grocery distribution center operations are amongst the most labour intensive of any industry. Higher automation driven by online grocery, micro-fulfillment centers (MFC) and ultrafast deliveries is going to be biggest opportunity in next 5 years led by different type of solution providers as AutoStore, Takeoff Technologies, Exotec, Fabric, Attabotics, OPEX, Dematic, Geekplus, and Urbx Logistics. It will witness an opportunity worth ~$7B by 2027 with ~19% growth rate. We have already witnessed these partnerships in last 2 years such as Ocado and Kroger in USA, Takeoff Technologies and Majid Al Futtaim in Middle East, Dematic and Coop in Denmark, Walmart and Symbotic in USA etc
- Warehouse Automation equipment suppliers and industry consultants expect broadly double-digit growth in sales driven by demographic changes, increased penetration in e-commerce and the advent of the Industrial IoT, that will drive demand for data analytics, 5G, digital services and automated operations in post-pandemic era
- Competitive landscape – There are 12 large players having annual revenue of more than $1B and 15-20 medium-size companies with revenue between $200M and $1B operating in the material handling equipment space capable of delivering comprehensive automated warehouse solutions. Top 10 large companies (including Dematic, Daifuku, SSI Schaefer, Honeywell Intelligrated, Knapp, Toyota Advance Logistics, Muratec, Beumer Group, MHS Global, Witron) are capturing more than 50% of market share although lots of start-ups are emerging in new categories like AMRs, Cube based ASRS, Picking Robots, Micro-Fulfillment, Autonomy Service Providers etc
- Services, both MRO and Digital, importance is increasing – Over the time as the installed base of automated warehouse solutions grows, industry players expect an increase in revenues from services and maintenance, which would have a positive impact on profitability as the service business typically has 15-20% operating margins, versus 3-5% margins for new equipment. It is expected to be $10B opportunity by 2027 including digital services
- Business models are also changing considering the real time pain points of end-users for high capex. Businesses are increasingly intrigued with RaaS (Robotics As a Service) because of its flexibility, scalability, and lower cost of entry than traditional robotics programs. The business model for picker-as-a-service is usually on a per-pick basis, ranging from 6 cents to 10 cents per pick, while AMR-as-a-service is usually leased on a monthly basis, from US$750 per robot per month to several thousands of dollars per month, depending on the commitment period
- Industry Consolidation – The past 5 years have seen an increase in consolidation amongst material handling equipment providers as traditional players see acquisition of technology leaders as an increasingly attractive way of positioning themselves in response to changing market trends. Acquisitions like Zebra (Fetch Robotics), ABB (ASTI), Toyota (Vanderlande, Bastian Solutions, ViaStore), Murata Machinery (Cimcorp), Locus Robotics (Waypoint), Hitachi (JR Automation), KPI Solutions (Kuecker Logistics Group, Pulse Integration, QC Software), Ocado (Kindred, Haddington Dynamics), Element Logic (SDI), Honeywell (Intelligrated, Transnorm), Körber (Cohesio Group, Siemens Logistics, HighJump), Teradyne (MiR, Energid, AutoGuide Mobile Robots), Jungheinrich (Arculus), KION (Dematic), KUKA (Swisslog) are just some of the examples of this consolidation
Facts to Know
- Global e-Commerce sales have grown at a CAGR of 20% over the last decade, reaching $4.94 trillion worldwide in 2021, and expected to grow to $7.5 trillion by 2025. The share of online retail sales has gone from 2% of total to 19%, and is further expected to reach 25% by 2025.
- Amazon Robotics automates the company’s fulfillment centers using more than 400,000 autonomous mobile robots, 13x growth from 30,000 at the end of 2015. Amazon had been playing catchup to match supply with demand – fulfillment costs as a percentage of net sales climbed from 15.2% in 2020 to 16% in 2021. Company nearly doubled its operations capacity in the past two years to keep up with demand.
- Last year, Walmart announced its partner with Symbotic to reimagine the retailer’s regional distribution network. Symbotic first implemented its system in Walmart’s Brooksville, Florida distribution center in 2017. Since that time, the companies have worked together to optimize the system. Now Symbotic will begin the automation process of 25 additional regional distribution centers with the high-tech systems and solutions.
- Zalando, Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle, has opened its third fulfillment center in Poland. The ramp up marks an important milestone in Zalando’s logistics network expansion with two Polish fulfillment centers serving Zalando’s growing customer base and one logistics site taking care of Zalando Lounge deliveries.
- Warehouse labour shortages are also an issue with peak labour demands occurring around major shopping holidays viz. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime day, Thanksgiving Day and Singles Day. Warehouses have to hire temporary labour around these peak times to meet the customer delivery schedules. Supply chain robotics company Cainiao had installed 700 robots at China’s largest robot-run warehouse to process orders on Singles Day.
- Single’s Day 2021 was different from every year in the past. Due to the recent crackdown on tech, there was less pizazz for the large platforms, while smaller platforms had more opportunities. Although sales still increased from the previous year, the growth rate for Single’s Day 2021 slowed down. Alibaba reported a total gross merchandise (GMV) of USD 84.54 billion, which is a year-on-year increase of 8.5%, much lower than the 26% rate from 2019 to 2020. Alibaba’s competitor Jingdong performed better, with a GMV worth of USD 54.6 billion. It is an increase of 28.6% from 2020, which is also slower than the 33% growth rate from 2019 to 2020
Key Players Analyzed:
- Material Handling Equipment: Dematic, Daifuku, SSI Schafer, Honeywell Intelligrated, Murata Machinery, FIVES, Körber, Savoye, Witron, Beumer Group, Swisslog, TGW, Interlake Mecalux, Knapp, OPEX Corporation, Westfalia, Vanderlande, MHS Global, Bastian Solutions, SIASUN, KPI Solutions, Lodige, Kardex, Jungheinrich, Dambach, PSB Intralogistics, Gudel, Symbotic
- AGV/AMR: Geek+, Quicktron (Flashhold), Amazon Robotics (Kiva System), Grey Orange, HikRobots, MiR, inVia Robotics, Guidance Automation, IAM Robotics, EiraTech Robotics, Aethon, 6 River Systems (Shopify), Caja System, Cobalt , Sherpa (Norcan), Syrius Robotics, Locus Robotics, Matthews Automation Solutions, Waypoint Robotics, iFuture Robotics , SMP Robotics, Milvus Robotics, ALOG Tech, Vecna Robotics, Fetch Robotics, Tompkins Robotics, Scallog, MegVII, Malu Innovation, EuroTec (Lowpad), Cohesio Group (Korber), OTTO Motors (Clearpath Robotics), BLEUM, Ubiquity Robotics, Neobotix, IQ Robotics, Next Shift Robotics, KnightScope, Magazino, Intelligent Robots, Yandex, Savioke, Gideon Brothers, The Hi-Tech Robotic Systemz Ltd., ForwardX , Omron Adept, Milrem Robotics, Cainiao, Cohesio, DS Automation, Ro-ber, Rocla AGV, Active Space Automation, AgiLox, John Bean Technologies Corporation (JBT), AGVE Group, EK Automation, Transbotics (SCOTT), ESTI Mobile Robotics, America in Motion (AIM), Kivnon, Oceaneering AGV, Casun, Savant Automation, AGV International, Creform, PAL Robotics, Pulse Integration
- Warehouse Management System (WMS): AFS Technologies, Aptean, Consafe Logistics, DataByte, Davanti, Deposco, DSI, Ehrhardt + Partner Group, EVS, Generix Group, HAL, Hardis Group, HighJump, inconso, Infor, Iptor, Blue Yonder, Made4net, Manhattan Associates, Mantis, Mecalux Software, Microlistics, Oracle, Reply, SAP, Softeon, SSI SCHÄFER IT, Synergy Logistics, Tecsys, Tradelink, TTX, Vinculum, vTradEx, Savant Software, envista, Fishbowl
- Micro-Fulfillment: Takeoff Technologies, Fabric, Dematic, Knapp, Murata Machinery, Alert Innovation, Opex Corporation, Attabotics, Autostore, Exotec, Swisslog, Clevron, i-collector, Storojet, Konecranes, Ocado Technology, Pulse Integration, Geek+, Hai Robotics, Urbx Logistics, Nano Fulfillment
- Piece Picking Robots: Righthand Robotics, Kindred AI, Knapp, Universal Robotics, Berkshire Grey, Plus One Robotics, XYZ Robotics, Swisslog, Grey Orange, OSARO, Dematic, Nimble, Fizyr
- Last Mile Delivery: Myrmex Robotics, Cleveron, Starship Robots, Nuro, Refraction AI, LogiNext, PostMates, Bringg, Matternet, what3words, Deliv, Roadie, Routific, Gatik AI, iMile, Robby Technologies, Marble.io, BoxBot
- Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC): Zebra Technologies, Datalogic, Cognex, SATO, Honeywell AIDC, SICK, BLUEBIRD, DENSO, Panasonic, Toshiba TEC, TSC, CASIO, SNBC, AVERY DENNISON, NCR, Scan Source, Newland America, CAB, EPSON, Unitech, M3 Mobile
- Autonomy Service Providers (ASP): Covariant AI, Brain Corp, Balyo, Mov AI, Amazon Canvas, WIBOTIC, Realtime Robotics, Seegrid, Kollmorgen, Oceaneering, MEGVII, MOVEL AI, PerceptIn, RoboCV, Robominds, SlamTec, Freedom Robotics, Humatics, Clearpath Robotics, Bluebotics, ASI, Exyn Technologies, BITO Robotics, Vecna Robotics, Robust AI, Stanley Innovation, Southie Autonomy
- Warehouse Drones: PINC Solutions, Drone Delivery Canada, Dronescan, Eyesee Drone, Infinium Robotics, Matternet, Workhorse Group, Skycart, Skysense, Zipline, Flirtey, Flytrex, Altitude Angel, Airmap, H3 Dynamics, Edronic, Cheetah Logistics Technology, Multirotor, Skyward.io, Unify, Sensefly, Volocopter GmbH, Ehang, Uber
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