Sales of industrial robots in India reached a new record of 4,945 units installed in 2021, an increase of 54% compared with 3,215 units in 2020, said the International Federation of Robotics, or IFR. In terms of annual installations, India now ranks in tenth position worldwide, according to the IFR's World Robotics report.
“India is one of the world's fastest-growing industrial economies,” said Marina Bill, president of the IFR. “Within five years, the operational stock of industrial robots has more than doubled, to reach 33,220 units in 2021. This corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 16% since 2016.”
Today, India is the world’s fifth largest economy measured by manufacturing output. According to World Bank data, India´s manufacturing value added in 2021 was $443.9 billion (U.S.), a 21.6% increase from 2020.
The automotive industry remains the largest customer for the robotics industry in India, with a 31% share in 2021, said the IFR. Installations more than doubled to 1,547 units (+108%). The general industry in India is led by the metal industry with 308 units (-9%), the rubber and plastics industry with 246 units (+27%), and the electrical/electronics industry with 215 units (+98%).
Operational stock of robots, in thousands, in India in 2021. Click on image to enlarge. Source: IFR
India's potential 'impressive,' says IFR
The long-term potential of robotics in India becomes clearer when compared to China, said the IFR. India´s robot density in the automotive industry, which is the number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees, reached 148 robots in 2021.
China's robot density hit 131 units in 2010 and skyrocketed to 772 units in 2021, according to the Frankfurt, Germany-based organization.
The Indian government supports growth in the industrial sector as one of the vital figures that affect its gross domestic product (GDP). Today, the country's GDP of about $3 trillion ranks in fifth place, head to head with the U.K. and France and behind Germany, Japan, China, and the U.S., reported the International Monetary Fund.
Jobs outlook for India positive
“As a result of the recent supply chain disruption, companies are rethinking their nearshoring strategies in Southeast Asia,” said Bill in a press release. “India has traditionally been a popular destination for nearshoring in the manufacturing segment. The Indian government wants the country to be considered for new diversification options such as friendshoring, which is partnering with countries that share similar values and interests.”
The manufacturing sector is also expected to benefit from government initiatives to boost its competitiveness and attractiveness for investors. For example, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, currently set to run until 2025, subsidizes companies that create production capacity in India in robot customer industries like automotive, metal, pharmaceuticals, and food processing.
New manufacturing capacities in India are an important step to providing adequate education and employment opportunities for its people, noted the IFR. The United Nations projected that India now has 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, the IFR said. Forecasts expect the country to have the largest working-age population in the world by 2027.
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