Retail business steps up spending on mobile robots

Retail stores and business will enhance spending on mobile robots to improve efficiency and manage cost, according to research reports from ABI Research and GlobalData.
robots in retail businessWorldwide commercial robot revenue in retail stores will exceed $8.4 billion by 2030, according to ABI Research.

Commercial robot revenue in retail stores will achieve a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 25 percent from 2022 to 2030, the report said.

Retail sales grew 7 percent in 2020 and by over 14 percent in 2021 against 3.7 percent growth between 2010 and 2019. Retail business is facing pressure on supply chains and retail operations due to the increase in demand. As a result, retailers and stakeholders are turning to automation solutions such as mobile robotics for operational ease.

“We can see incoming retail solutions within various points of the retail value chain, such as order fulfillment, in-store inventory check, coordination between store associates, or last-mile delivery. These solutions can directly or indirectly impact the wider supply chain management to retailers for the better,” said Adhish Luitel, Senior Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics at ABI Research.

Retailers are adopting technologies such as contactless checkout, in-store mobile robotics, wearables, and smart carts to enhance operations and contribute to a more streamlined supply chain management.

Technology companies like Zebra Technologies, Simbe Robotics, and Seoul Robotics provide various automation solutions such as wearable computers, handheld devices, LiDAR devices, and in-store robots that can be used for inventory scanning, floor care, or security purposes.

Companies such as Mashgin and Cloudpick offer frictionless checkout in stores by combining proprietary computer vision, deep learning, sensor fusion, and edge computing technologies.

Investment in innovative retail technologies bring benefits such as customer experience, streamlined task / employee management, price management, or automated item monitoring.

“Beyond enabling rapid fulfillment/restocking or automated inventory management, these technologies also provide additional data points for precise demand and procurement planning. This can also lead to an enhanced omnichannel presence for retailers and stronger partnerships with suppliers, shippers and distribution center operators,” Adhish Luitel said.

Autonomous mobile robots will become next big bet in industrial operations, says research firm GlobalData.

California’s technology startup Ottonomy developed the world’s first fully autonomous delivery robot Ottobot, which leverages the company’s proprietary contextual mobility navigation software to navigate through crowded and unpredictable environments.

CVG Airport, Cincinnati partnered with the startup to use Ottobots for delivering retail and food items at the airport. Concurrently, retailer Presto has selected the company for the delivery of its orders with Ottobots.

Amazon has recently launched its first fully-autonomous robot Proteus that can autonomously move through facilities to pick up and place goods transporting carts (GoCarts) containing packages. It can be automatically instructed to autonomously carry out its function and move around employees without the need to be confined to any fixed working areas.

The e-commerce giant is currently testing a prototype of Cardinal, a robotic arm for handling packages of around 20kg.

“With mechatronic capabilities, mobile robotics are becoming an essential choice, particularly amid manpower shortages, as they can move and make decisions on their own,” Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said.

The Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) market size was valued at $1.61 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach $22.15 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 34.3 percent from 2022-2030, ResearchAndMarkets.com said.