Automation Industry Amid Global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Crisis: Meticulous Research® Viewpoint

Meticulous Research® estimate that the overall impact of this COVID-19 crisis on the automation industry will result in a 7-8% dip in the market in 2020

London, May 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) has created an economic turmoil globally where industries, and businesses - small, medium and large have come to a standstill. As things stand today, large organizations are suffering losses to the tune of millions due to shortfall in productivity and country wise lockdown. Governments around the globe have inflicted nation-wide shut downs to minimize the pandemic and control the spread of epidemic. 

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China which is at the forefront of global production and deployment of automation and robotics, has been able to control the epidemic after several stringent measures and is now shifting its focus towards a gradual recovery of production cycles and lifestyle. China, where the early outbreak symptoms were observed in December 2019, has witnessed its February 2020 Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) plummet to 35.7%, a decline of 14.3 percentage points over the previous month. Subsequently, the production index was found to be at 27.8%, a decline of 23.5 percentage points over the previous month. These indices are symbolic of the hit that the Chinese industrial production took during Q1, 2020. Even though the spread of virus has been controlled to a large extent, resulting in around 95% of large businesses in China and another 60% of small and medium businesses outside the epicenter, reopening, global supplies to Europe and North America continue to look bleak. A major dip in exports, on account of an affected supply chain and the spread of pandemic in EU countries and US are further adding to the woes of Chinese manufacturing businesses.

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For manufacturing industries, globally, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) has resulted in a vast decline in revenue and profits. Under these constrained circumstances, businesses are experiencing significant cut down of employees and workers resulting in an overall loss to industrial production activities. The small and medium segment of industries are the worst hit, resulting in major layoffs, attritions and an overall financial crisis.

Europe which is the worst affected region in terms of coronavirus spread, has experienced major lockdowns and shutdowns of manufacturing industries. As of 30th March, major industrial hubs of Europe have suffered adverse losses to the tune of billions in lost revenue. The subsequent impact of revenue loss can be associated to the layoffs of industrial workers in the region. A snapshot of this data offers a detailed view of job losses in European countries. The automotive industry in Europe which is a major end-user in terms of automation and robotic implementation is the worst hit.

The US., which has recorded the maximum number of coronavirus cases and associated deaths, is also experiencing a stalled industrial production, resulting in sizeable job losses across both discrete and process industries. As per the economists, the unemployment rate is forecasted to be around 4% in March 2020, an upsurge from a 50-year record of 3.5% recorded in February, 2020. In the oil and gas industry, which is a major employer of workers in the US, the state of Louisiana is predicted to observe an unemployment rate of 44% primarily due to falling of crude oil prices and halted production activity.

Under this gloomy scenario, Automation and Robotics have a vital role to play across multiple facets of life ranging from consumer products and services to industrial production. Amid situation where discrete and process industries are operating with limited workforce (due to layoffs and job losses), deployment of automation and robotics are enabling businesses to sustain their production levels with minimum risk and exposure of workers to coronavirus epidemic. Through the deployment of automated technologies and robots, industries can ensure that factories/plants can continue to operate at a certain level with lower human involvement and remote monitoring of processes. In terms of consumer services, several countries, globally, are observing population lockdown due to which procuring daily needs and running errands have become constrained which is where personal service robots are playing a major role in ensuring seamless continuity of service delivery. 

Impact on Automation Industry

Automation holds a key role in ensuring that industries are capable of meeting a certain production level in these times and also support the gradual recovery after the epidemic is controlled to a larger extent. Prior to coronavirus outbreak, industrial automation activity was slow due to a flat capital expenditure and a decline in industrial activity, globally. The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation has further burst open the bubble that factory automation was widespread and had substituted human workers at scale. Implementation of technologies such as blockchain in inventory management and logistics or AI equipped assembly line in factories, have either been insufficiently developed or the implementation scale has been partial.

We, at Meticulous Research® estimate that the overall impact of this crisis on the automation industry will result in a 7-8% dip in the market in 2020. Discrete automation is the most affected sub-segment, as the global discrete industry (primarily automotive and electronics industries) had been facing adverse conditions before the outbreak started. The demand of automation from these industries would remain low even after the outbreak is controlled and the resumption of industrial production.

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Amidst this time of crisis, we at Meticulous Research® are continuously assessing the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) pandemic on various sub-markets, and enable global organizations to strategize for the post COVID-19 world and sustain their growth. For more details, please reach us on

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