United Nations Economic Commission for EuropeEmbargo: 21 October 2003, 00:01 hours GMTPress Release ECE/STAT/03/P01 Geneva, 17 October 2003 Is recovery around the corner? Robot orders in first half of 2003 were up by 26% to the highest level ever recorded Worldwide growth in the period 2003-2006 forecast at an average annual rate of 7.4% Household robots are starting to take off UNECE issues its 2003 World Robotics survey Below are some of the many questions answered by the newly released survey World Robotics 2003produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in cooperation with the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). The following questions and answers provide an executive summary of this 380 page in-depth analysis: •How did the economic slow-down in 2002 affect the robot business?“The world market fell by 12% as a result of falling demand in all major markets. However, robots did much better than many other similar types of investment goods. Machine tools, for instance, fell in major markets three times as much as robots, says Jan Karlsson, responsible for the UNECE/IFR publication. The robot market in the United States fell by 8%, by close to 11% in Japan and by 16% in the European Union. The drop in the European Union market should, however, be seen in the light of the fact that with the exception of 1997, when the market fell by 1%, the European Union has had market growth since 1994 and, except for 2001, double digit-growth. •What about the trends in 2003 and the forecast for 2003-2006? The UNECE/IFR quarterly survey on order intake of industrial robots, which includes most of the world's largest companies, showed that worldwide order intake increased by 26%, compared with the same period in 2002. It was the highest order intake of industrial robots ever recorded, worldwide and in all regions, except in North America where it was the third best half year recorded. The order intake, by regions, of industrial robots during the first half of 2003, compared with the same period in 2002, was as follows: North America +35%, Europe +25%, Asia +18%, Other regions +19% These figures indicate that a strong recovery is in sight in the investment propensity in industry. The results for the first half of 2003 point to total sales of over 80,000 robots in 2003, compared with 68,600 in 2002. How many robots are now working out there in industry?Worldwide at least 770,000 units (possibly the real stock could be well over one million units), of which 350,000 in Japan, 233,000 in the European Union and about 104,000 in North America. In Europe, Germany is in the lead with just under 105,000 units, followed by Italy with 47,000, France with 24,000, Spain with 18,000 and the United Kingdom with 14,000.
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ECE/STAT/03/P01 page 2 •What is the forecast for 2005?A conservative forecast points to some 875,000 units worldwide, of which 333,000 in Japan, 303,000 in the European Union and 135,000 in North America.