Korea Leads Latest Global Robotics Race

Driven by the high volume of industrial robot installations, the world hit a new record of 3.9 million operational robots in 2022. Mainly, Korea topped the most automated countries measured by robot density with 1,012 robots per 10,000 employees. Singapore followed second with 730 units, and Germany ranked third with 415 units. This is according to the World Robotics 2023 report, presented by the IFR.

The new global average robot density hit an all-time high © International Federation of Robotics

“Robot density data reveal the state of automation worldwide and allow us to compare regions and countries,” says Marina Bill, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “The speed of robotics adoption in factories around the world is impressive: the new global average robot density hit an all-time high of 151 robots per 10,000 employees – more than double the number measured only six years ago.”

Robot Density by Region

Per region, Asia has a robot density of 168 units per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry. On a global scale, the economies of Korea, Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taipei all rank within the top ten most automated countries. Specifically, the European Union has a robot density of 208 units per 10,000 employees with Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland ranking in the global top-ten group. Meanwhile, North America’s robot density is 188 units per 10,000 employees. Particularly, the United States ranks among the top ten most automated countries in the manufacturing industry.

Robot density worldwide, 2013-2022

Top Countries

The Republic of Korea is the world’s number one adopter of industrial robots. Robot density has increased by 6% on average each year since 2017. Primarily, the Korean economy benefits from a strong electronics industry and a distinct automotive industry.

Singapore follows with 730 robots per 10,000 employees. Singapore is a small country with a very low number of employees in the manufacturing industry.

With 415 robots installed per 10,000 employees, Germany ranks third in the race. Robot density of Europe’s biggest economy has grown by 5% CAGR since 2017.

Meanwhile, Japan ranks fourth with 397 units. Mainly, the robot density of the world’s predominant robot manufacturing country grew by 7% on average from 2017 to 2022.

China made its way up to fifth place in 2021 and maintained this position in 2022. The country’s massive investment in automation technology yields a high robot density of 392 robots per 10,000 employees – despite a huge workforce of roughly 38 million people in the manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, Robot density in the United States rose from 274 units in 2021 to 285 in 2022. The country ranks tenth in the world.

About Robot density

Robot density is the number of operational industrial robots relative to the number of employees. It can cover the whole manufacturing industry or just specific industrial branches. The number of employees serves as a measure of economic size, so the quotient of operational stock over employees puts the operational stock on a uniform base.