Chinese warehouse automation market projected to have double-digit growth in next 5 years
Interact Analysis projects the Chinese warehouse automation market will show strong growth over the next five years as companies look to optimize efficiency.
- China’s warehouse automation industry was worth $4.72 million in 2022.
- Domestic warehouse automation suppliers gain market share, while international suppliers see business continue to decline in China.
- Despite a plentiful supply of labor in China, increasing labor costs continue to drive growth for the warehouse automation market.
The Chinese warehouse automation market has fared well over the past five years, maintaining a market growth rate of around 16%, with steady growth expected to continue over the next five years. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the Chinese economy, warehouse automation experienced significant growth in sectors such as general merchandise, durable manufacturing and parcel. Overall, the mobile warehouse automation market has grown at a faster pace in China than that of fixed warehouse automation.
In 2022, the Chinese warehouse automation industry was worth $4.72 million, compared to $2.59 million in 2018. The parcel, durable manufacturing and general merchandise sectors have been largely responsible for driving this growth, registering CAGRs of 22.1, 22.5 and 18.4% respectively. Between 2023 and 2027, the outlook for the market is still rosy as companies continue to look for ways to optimize efficiency on the factory floor, with a CAGR of 13.5% according to Interact Analysis.
International suppliers have played a significant role in China’s warehouse automation industry. However, we are now beginning to see a gradual decline in the share of business taken by international suppliers, as domestic suppliers gain a competitive advantage. International suppliers held a substantial share of the Chinese fixed warehouse automation market in 2018, but this has been declining over time which we discuss in detail in the report. This is largely because local suppliers have a clear price advantage compared with international vendors. Furthermore, Chinese suppliers are often able to offer more flexible solutions that can be tailored to the needs of the customer and have greater knowledge of the Chinese market and economy, further boosting their competitive advantage. Chinese suppliers have also been successfully expanding into overseas markets.
Irene Zhang, senior analyst at Interact Analysis said, “There are four main drivers of growth for the Chinese warehouse automation market. Firstly, China’s economic growth has remained strong over the past few decades, while, secondly, government support and promotion of warehouse automation has boosted the market significantly. Our research provides detailed analysis of government subsidies that warehouse automation suppliers have received, of which make up a substantial amount of their net profits. As with many countries across the globe, labor costs continue to rise in China, which has led many companies to re-evaluate their strategy and implement warehouse automation solutions in order to reduce costs. Finally, the localization of warehouse automation equipment has driven down the price of components such as sensors and PLC’s, further increasing Chinese vendors’ competitive advantage.”
Zhang noted challenges still remain. “However, where there are drivers for market entry there are also barriers. Project implementation cycles tend to be longer in China due to a lack of experience and expertise among some local suppliers, which hampers growth of the market. Additionally, although labor costs are high, the labor force is plentiful in China compared with other countries, such as the US. This means there is an abundant supply of blue-collar workers and less of an incentive to invest in automation.”
– Interact Analysis is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.