The worldwide number of domestic household robots will rise to 31 million between 2016 and 2019. The sales value of robots cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and cleaning swimming pools will grow to about 13 billion US dollars in this period. These forecasts are takes from the 2016 World Robotics Report, “Service Robots”, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
“Robotics in personal and domestic applications has experienced strong global growth with relatively few mass-market products: floor cleaning robots, lawn mowers and edutainment robots are dominating the market,” says Joe Gemma, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “But the next generation of robots will have even greater capabilities and will open up new fields of application.”
Robots as domestic helpers
In the coming years, vacuum and floor cleaning robots will continue to make up the lion’s share of units at work in households. Sales will rise from 3.6 million units (2015) to around 30 million units within the 2016-2019 forecast period. Vacuum and floor cleaning robots account for 96 percent of domestic robot sales. Robotic mowers and pool cleaning robots rank second and third, respectively.
See: Is Singapore the Next to Follow the Robotic Revolution Trail?
Sales figures for the entertainment sector show a similar dynamic. In 2015, the total number of toy robots, remote-controlled multi-media robots and personal edutainment robots amounted to 1.7 million units. The IFR forecasts that this market will grow to 11 million units between 2016 and 2019. Toy and hobby robots account for 70 percent of the market share in the entertainment segment.
Assistive robots for the handicapped and elderly
Strong growth is reported in sales of handicap assistive robots and for the elderly. At 4,700 units (2015), the sales volume is still comparatively low. But sales figures are expected to rise to 37,500 units from 2016 to 2019.
The rise in the value of sales will mirror this development: Sales in 2015 amounted to USD 16.8 million – a year-on-year increase of 34 percent. The total value is forecast to rise to USD 97 million between 2016 and 2019.
Over the years, domestic helpers have become an integral part of running a smooth Singaporean household, with salaries for them starting at S$500 per month. With domestic helpers sourced from countries such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Indonesia, some of the countries have banned domestic helpers from working overseas in the recent past.
Do these mean that the role of a domestic helper will soon be replaced by robots in Asia?
Also read: Minimum Allowable Wage for Foreign Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong Increased to $4,310 per month