Many industry analysts are bullish about the mobile robot market, given the growing demand for labor-saving assistance in warehouses. However, automation vendors are facing challenges from e-commerce shifts, competitive pressures, and the constrained availability of venture capital. Last week's acquisition of 6 River Systems LLC came as a reminder for robotics startups, established suppliers, and their customers that the market is still evolving.
E-commerce provider Shopify Inc. laid off as much as 85% of 6 River Systems' staff prior to selling it to Ocado Group PLC, partly in response to falling customer orders, sources told Robotics 24/7. CEO Tobias Lütke also announced that Shopify was laying off 20% of its total staff and that it was selling Shopify Logistics (formerly Deliverr) to Flexport.
AMR market allegedly growing
Market research firms have been predicting steady growth. The global market for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) could expand from $2 billion (U.S.) in 2022 to $9 billion by 2032, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%, according to Global Market Insights Inc.
Similarly, Research and Markets predicted that the global AMR market could grow from $3.4 billion in 2023 to $9.5 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 15.5%. It also said that AMRs could reach 20% of the total warehouse automation market by 2030.
Such estimates range widely, but the consensus among these firms is that labor shortages, the need to increase ergonomics and safety, and consumer expectations of accelerated deliveries have contributed to demand.
At the same time, as much as 75% of warehouses and distribution centers in North America are reportedly not yet automated. More than 60 AMR providers offer to fill that demand, but several analysts told Robotics 24/7 that very few of them are currently profitable.
To read the complete article, please click here.