The consumer robotic market pushed through the pandemic's disruption to deliver continued growth in 2020 as consumers spent more time at home and invested in robotic offerings that made life simpler.
ABI Research estimates the consumer robotics market generated US$10.4 billion in revenues in 2020, up US$448 million, or 4.3%, on pre-pandemic expectations.
“In 2020, two key trends converged to drive homecare robotics adoption. First, consumers were more interested in robotic cleaners, but their interest came as vendor offerings solved many issues with limited consumer appeal. Second, product lines expanded to bring capabilities at lower price points, with improved operational efficiency and cleaning abilities,” said Jonathan Collins, Smart Home research director at ABI Research.
Despite an initial negative impact on production and shipments at the onset of the pandemic, robot homecare vendors saw strong third and fourth quarters greatly reduced the effect. The pandemic saw a shift in consumer focus and spending from outside to inside the home, which supported a growing emphasis on in-home spending.
The additional focus on cleaning and health within the home, as well as social isolation for many, similarly brought greater interest, appeal, and spending in many segments of consumer robotics.
“Extended functionality such as on-board cameras as well as features targeting consumer wellness concerns, including HEPA filters and UV sterilization lamps, all furthered appeal,” Collins added.
However, the greatest impact of 2020 on consumer robots will likely be the greater awareness and acceptance of a valuable role for Personal/Social robots.
This is driven by the isolation and restrictions placed on many demographics worldwide, but particularly in the core consumer markets – the elderly and children.
Collins concluded that efforts by players like Softbank and SARA Robotics to push forward trials and new engagements that boost the market’s potential during 2020 will continue to have a positive impact on the industry in the years ahead.