Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on the robot market

The COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine had a decisive impact on the robot market between 2021-2023. They revealed the complexity and challenges faced by the global robotics industry. Both events contributed to significant disruptions in global supply chains, directly affecting the production and availability of robotic equipment.

Negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented disruptions in global supply chains, significantly affecting the availability of robotic components, particularly those produced in Asia, including China. Lockdowns and movement restrictions caused a significant slowdown in production, leading to delays in the delivery of robots and parts. As a result, order fulfillment times lengthened and costs increased. For example, companies such as ABB and KUKA struggled to maintain delivery timelines due to disruptions.

Additionally, the pandemic led to an increase in demand for automation as companies sought to minimize human contact and adapt to new health guidelines. Although this could have been an opportunity for the sector, supply problems limited companies’ ability to quickly ramp up automation efforts.

War in Ukraine and its impact on the robot market

The war in Ukraine intensified existing supply issues, especially for raw materials and electronic components. Russia and Ukraine, as key suppliers of rare metals, further destabilized already strained supply chains, leading to further delays and increased production costs. The automotive sector, a leader in robotics implementation, experienced severe disruptions due to semiconductor chip shortages, which are key components in both vehicles and robotic systems.

The war also exerted pressure on the global supply chains of critical raw materials, such as neon gas, which is essential for the production of semiconductor chips. The conflict led to additional complications, resulting in increased energy prices and further logistical disruptions, impacting operational costs and investment strategies of companies in the robotics field.

Market Data and the Future of the Robotics Market

Despite the negative impact of these events, the robotics market in Europe is expected to record significant growth. Data analysis from 2016-2022 indicates a systematic increase in investments in robotics, reflecting a growing interest in automation. Forecasts suggest that revenues in the robotics market could reach USD 13.14 billion in 2024, showing a rebound after a period of disturbances.

Analysis of Effects

Delivery Times: Due to disruptions, the delivery time of robots significantly extended, in some cases exceeding 6 months. This was particularly painful for intralogistic robots, collaborative robots, and others that play a key role in automating production and logistic processes.

Supply Uncertainty: The disruptions caused uncertainty among manufacturers and customers regarding the timeliness of deliveries, negatively affecting production planning and investments.

Price Increase: Tensions in supply chains contributed to the increase in component prices, which directly translated into higher prices for robotic equipment. This increase was also driven by the heightened demand for robots in the context of striving for greater automation in response to the pandemic.

Long-Term Consequences

Governments of various countries see the current difficulties as an opportunity to modernize their industries. Therefore, they offer funds to help companies introduce modern technologies, such as robotics, into their production. However, these funds are mainly received by companies that already know that robots can help them. Small and medium-sized enterprises rarely benefit from this assistance because they are often not convinced about robotization. Additional actions are needed to get more companies to start using robots. It is important not to invest in outdated technologies.

System integration specialists play a key role in delivering these technologies to companies. However, there is a shortage of such specialists, which represents a serious obstacle. Government programs should focus on supporting the development of such services so that more companies can benefit from robotics.

In 2023, global economic growth is slowing down, but the robot market is not succumbing to it. People continue to buy more robots than before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that this year the number of new robots installed worldwide will increase by 7%, reaching over 590,000 units. Although a global slowdown in robot installations is expected in 2024, growth is expected to be even greater in 2025 and 2026. There are no signs that this upward trend will end. On the contrary, it is expected that in 2024 the number of robots installed annually will reach 600,000, and in 2026 it will exceed 700,000.

In North America, the robot market is expected to grow by an average of 7% per year, despite inflation and tighter monetary policy. In Europe, the outlook is less optimistic due to the high risk of recession. However, the Asian market remains strong, especially in China, where the demand for robots will continue to grow from a very high level. In Japan, the number of robot installations is expected to slightly increase in 2024 and will continue to grow. The market in Korea is also expected to develop, albeit at a moderate pace.


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on the robotics market demonstrates how global crises can destabilize technologically advanced sectors. These challenges have highlighted the need for flexibility and resilience in supply chain management and have deepened awareness of the necessity to accelerate automation and digitalization to minimize the impact of future disruptions.

The robot market, despite the challenges associated with the pandemic and war, continues to show dynamic growth and adaptation to the changing realities of the global economy, demonstrating resilience and the ability to innovate in difficult times.


  • Market statistics available at Statista
  • International Federation of Robotics (IFR) available at
  • Report on digitization by BGK available at BGK
  • DBR77 reports on the robot market: Reports
Publication date: 12 April 2024