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UK and Ireland Industrial Automation Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Component (Hardware, and Software), By Industry (Discrete Industry, and Process Industry), and Country Forecast, 2021-2028

Last Updated: May 06, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI105237



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The UK and Ireland industrial automation market size was USD 7.93 billion and 1.24 billion in 2020, respectively. The regional impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with industrial automation witnessing a negative impact on demand across the regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the market in the UK and Ireland exhibited a lower growth of 5.4% and 7.3% in 2020, respectively, as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019.

The market in the UK is projected to grow from USD 8.42 billion in 2021 to USD 14.64 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 8.2% during the 2021-2028 period. Besides, Ireland's market is projected to grow from USD 1.33 billion in 2021 to USD 2.59 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 10.0% during the 2021-2028 period. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Increasing adoption of fifth-generation wireless services, Industry 4.0, and other digital transformation disruptive technologies are likely to create lucrative market opportunities in the countries. Post-COVID-19, the market's progress across the countries is likely to depend on the global economic conditions and market demand.

COVID Impact

Governments to prioritize Investments in Manufacturing Industry Amid COVID-19

In the UK and Ireland, the COVID-19 impact has seen a substantial deceleration in industrial hardware costs. Lower spending on hardware has eventually dropped down the adoption of software at a certain level. Decrease in spending on industrial manufacturing hardware such as sensors, robots, among others, is mainly owing to complete lockdown and restrictions measures hampering supply and production. These factors are observed to impede the market growth amid COVID-19.

Post COVID-19 outbreak, governments are more likely to make substantial investments in the manufacturing sector to uplift the businesses. For instance, in September 2020, the UK government invested around USD 386 million to boost the nation’s manufacturing productivity by 30% during the COVID pandemic. Such significant investments by the government are expected to boost emerging technologies such as robotics, cloud, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (AR) across the countries.


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Increasing Use of Autonomous Mobile Robots in Manufacturing and Logistics to be the Most Prominent Trend

Rapid adoption and implementation of robotics, coupled with the emergence of AI and IoT, is radically changing the automation activities across the industries in the U.K. and Ireland. For instance, according to the World Robotics 2020, the Industrial Robots report published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) states that around 21,700 industrial robots have been deployed in factories in the United Kingdom. Further, significant initiatives such as the National Robotics Executive Committee are expected to drive the increasing adoption of robotics and automation in countries.


Increasing Adoption of Industry 4.0 to Promote the Market Growth

According to the European Union, the manufacturing sector accounts for 16% of Europe’s GDP. Similarly, European Union also states that the sector is responsible for 64% of private-sector research and development and 49% of total innovation exposure across Europe. These factors contribute to the fact that the region holds lucrative opportunities for industrial automation growth, including smart manufacturing, industry 4.0, and others.

Industry 4.0 poses both challenges and opportunities for enterprise policy in areas such as productivity, competitiveness, sustainability, and employment. Industry 4.0 is likely to provide new cross-cutting technologies to manufacturing firms across the U.K. and Ireland, including enhanced business models and more functional products. These underpinning competencies can possibly strengthen the competitiveness of Ireland’s manufacturing base.


High Initial Capital Investments to Restrict the UK and Ireland Industrial Automation Market Growth

In the U.K. and Ireland, high initial capital investments are observed to be the most significant factor to impede the market growth. Post outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic cost has become a factor of concern for many businesses that have witnessed downturns in capital expenditure and other business losses. Hence, high initial capital investments are likely to impede market growth. Also, owing to the market's fragmented nature, the return on investment (ROI) cannot be predicted. As a result, small-scale manufacturers are hesitant to implement automation solutions.


By Component Analysis

Increasing Automation Processes Across Manufacturing Industries to Drive Demand for Automation Software

Based on the component, the market is segmented into hardware and software.

The software segment is anticipated to generate more revenue than industrial hardware. Industrial automation software solutions offered by major players such as General Electric Company’s human-machine interface (HMI)/SCADA and analytics software, Honeywell International Inc.’s Advanced software, and others enable businesses to streamline their automation processes. These factors are likely to contribute to the increasing adoption of industrial automation software.

By Hardware Analysis

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Industrial Robots to Exhibit Significant Growth Rate in Coming Years

The UK and Ireland industrial automation market by hardware segment is further divided into hardware types, including sensors, programmable logic controller (PLC), human-machine interface (HMI), servo, laser markers, safety light curtain, and robots.

The sensor segment is projected to grab the highest market share following servo and robots attributed to the advancements in sensor technologies such as micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). The robots segment is expected to showcase a significant growth rate during the forecast period supported by the increased shipments of industrial robots globally.

By Industry Analysis

Discrete Automation Industry to be Leading User of Industrial Automation Solutions

By industry, the market is segmented into discrete automation and process automation industry.

The discrete manufacturing industry segment, including heavy manufacturing, automotive, and electronics, among others, is expected to hold a significant market share in the U.K. Approximately 3,000 aerospace companies operate in the U.K. Besides, domestic companies such as Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Meggitt, Cobham, Ultra Electronics, and QinetiQ have established strong market positions in the country. Hence, such technologically advanced companies are likely to contribute to the segment’s major share by driving the increasing demand to automate manufacturing processes such as industrial automation across the sector.

Ireland’s process automation industry, including oil & gas, chemicals, pulp & paper, mining and metals, health care, and others, is anticipated to occupy the maximum share of the market during the forecast period. The electronics industry in Ireland is likely to be a potential user of automation as Ireland holds a significant position in western Europe’s ICT semiconductor and ICT market.


Geographically, the market is analyzed across the U.K. and Ireland.

The industrial automation industry in the UK and Ireland is highly competitive. The competition among the market players is expected to remain intense as traditional and non-traditional automation vendors seek increased market share. A high-quality customer base and networks differentiate the vendors from other competitors and encourage the ability to manage and plan competitive conditions in the market.

The UK ranks 9th in the digital readiness score published by Cisco in 2019, while Ireland ranks 12th among the western European countries. This shows that the regions are experiencing the impact of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other digital technologies that contribute to the country's digital readiness. 

UK industrial sectors are likely to invest heavily in technology systems by actively engaging in innovation activities. The UK government is likely to deploy new strategies under the digital service initiative to drive digital transformation across the industries that would support the market growth in the U.K. in the forthcoming years.

According to the Bloomberg readiness index, in 2020, Ireland stands at 16th position in most innovative countries in Europe. Hence, the market in Ireland is expected to provide lucrative opportunities for the new entrants.


Key Market Players to Embrace Partnerships and Collaborations to Increase Market Share

The activities of these key players such as ABB Ltd., Emerson Electric Co, Bosch, Siemens AG, General Electric, and Omron Corporation, Rockwell Automation Inc., among others, are observed to be more focused on embracing partnerships and collaborations with other automation companies to increase the market share. For instance,

October 2020 – Hitachi ABB power grids signed a project with UK’s Power Networks Services to deploy and advance high-speed rail in the UK. The project cost around USD 6.6 million. This project was primarily initiated to manage the present High Speed 1 (HS1) and advanced the load balancer and static var compensator (SVC) control systems.  

November 2020 – OMRON Corporation announced a partnership with Reeco Automation to provide collaborative robots for UK manufacturers. Through this partnership, the companies aim to deliver de-risk and develop complex automation projects.


  • ABB Ltd. (Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Siemens AG (Munich, Germany)

  • General Electric (Massachusetts, U.S.)

  • Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Robert Bosch GmBH (Gerlingen, Germany)

  • Rockwell Automation Inc. (Wisconsin, U.S.)

  • Schneider Electric (Rueil-Malmaison, France)

  • Honeywell International Inc. (North Carolina, U.S.)

  • Emerson Electric Co. (Missouri, U.S.)

  • Fanuc Corporation (Yamanashi, Japan)

  • Yokogawa Electric Corporation (Tokyo, Japan)


  • August 2020 – WAGO launched WINSTA MINI Pluggable Connection System. These systems are enabled with IP40 protection technology. These systems are highly deployed in extremely accessible areas, such as retail shops, trade fair construction, and furniture manufacturing.

  • July 2020 –  Gorey-based Tricon Automation Ireland Ltd. shipped three industrial robots to the United States-based pharmaceutical company, which are being used to produce the COVID-19 testing kits.


An Infographic Representation of UK and Ireland Industrial Automation Market

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The UK and Ireland industrial automation market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading product applications. Besides this, the report offers insights into the key market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors contributing to the growth of the market in recent years.




Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)


  Component; and Industry;

By Component

  • Hardware

    • Photoelectric

    • Laser

    • Inductive

    • Others

    • Motor

      • AC

      • DC

    • Drive

    • Sensors

    • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

    • Human Machine Interface (HMI)

    • Servo

    • Laser Markers

    • Safety Light Curtain

    • Robots

  • Software

By Industry

  • Discrete Automation

    • Automotive

    • Electronics

    • Heavy Manufacturing

    • Packaging

    • Others

  • Process Automation

    • Oil & Gas

    • Chemicals

    • Pulp & Paper

    • Mining and Metals

    • Health Care

    • Others

Frequently Asked Questions

The market is projected to reach USD 14.64 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the market stood at USD 7.93 billion.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The market is projected to reach USD 2.59 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the market stood at USD 1.24 billion.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.0% during the forecast period (2021-2028).

The discrete automation industry segment is likely to lead the market across the UK. Whereas in Ireland, the process automation industry segment is expected to lead the market.

Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, smart factories, 3D printing, and cloud computing, among others, will drive market growth.

ABB Ltd., Siemens AG, General Electric, Schneider Electric SA, and Robert Bosch GMBH are some of the top companies in the market.

The U.K. is expected to hold the highest market share.

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