FRANKFURT—Initial findings of the World Robotics Report 2018, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), show that sales of industrial robots in India reached the new record of 3,412 new units installed in 2017. That is an increase of 30 percent compared to 2016.

Between 2012 and 2017, India saw a compound annual sales growth rate of 18 percent. Broken down by industry, India´s automotive sector is the main customer with a share of 62 percent of the total supply. Sales rose by 27 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

“The automotive industry will remain the main driver of the increasing robot installations in India,” says Junji Tsuda, president of the IFR. “Numerous new projects are announced by the international and domestic car manufacturers aiming to expand production capacities. Moreover, OEMs increasingly require local supply of automotive parts.”

Industrial robot use in general industry is catching up with the automotive sector. For example, robot sales in the rubber and plastics, metal and electrical and electronics industries increased by 46 percent in 2017.

“The general industry will further invest in production capacities and modernization to serve this growing consumer market,” says IFR President Junji Tsuda. “Therefore, an accelerated and strong robot sales growth is expected between 2018 and 2021.”

Since 2009, the number of robot installations has been growing rapidly in India. In 2017, India ranked No. 14 regarding the global annual supply, following Thailand and Spain. Regarding the operational stock, India ranked thirteenth following Canada, Spain and Singapore.

In addition, India has a rather low industrial robot density figure of 85 per 10,000 employees in the automotive industry. This number is less than one-fourth of Indonesia´s density (378 units) and far away from China´s (505 units).