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The global wearable robotic exoskeleton market size was USD 474.4 million in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with wearable robotic exoskeleton witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a stellar growth of 41.2% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 671.2 million in 2021 to USD 8,241.7 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 43.1% in the 2021-2028 period. The rise in the CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
The emergence of the wearable robotic exoskeleton industry has enabled an unmatched level of robotic use, as these machines directly align with the human body structure as per requirements. Exoskeleton technologies can profoundly transform the way we live. These robots can benefit the economy enormously and also add new levels in job standards in the upcoming years, as they are becoming a part of the regular work culture. These wearable robots are enabling a wide range of applications, such as construction, manufacturing industries, military & warfighters, and others. The market is showing exponential growth, and it is expected to continue to exhibit the same trend in the upcoming years.
COVID-19 Pandemic: Creation of Productive Opportunities for Service Providers Globally
The unexpected lockdown across various regions due to the COVID-19 pandemic had brought robot suppliers to a complete standstill for a short period. On the other hand, the pandemic has created productive industry opportunities for products and service providers to increase their market presence by focusing on addressing real clinical challenges, in collaboration with clinicians and industry partners, and in response to patients' evolving needs.
For instance, in May 2020, ReWalk Robotics Ltd. stated a revision to a contract with Harvard in order to lengthen the term of their collaboration. It has been observed that the United States healthcare sector is utilizing telehealth experiences in order to respond to the urgencies created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This telehealth technology meets the home-based management and rehabilitation therapies for mobility-challenged patients, wherein patients will be served with remote home care with the feedback and monitoring capability of clinicians.
Also, key suppliers observed the easing of lockdown measures in the month of May, with the restarting of shipping, delivery, and training and fulfilling the first quarter orders, and acquiring new orders across geographies. Besides, exoskeletons are able to provide gait assistance to people with disabilities, reducing their dependence on caregivers and ensuring social distancing.
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Integration of Smart Technologies in Robots is a Vital Trend
With expanding technological capabilities, exoskeleton robots are becoming increasingly common in workplaces across the globe. The introduction of technologies, mainly Artificial Intelligence (AI), interactive Internet of Things (IoT), digital assistants, virtual guidance, and interactive learning in robots, has eased their usability and development for the logistics, medical, and engineering industries.
Furthermore, the introduction of techniques, mainly human-in-the-loop optimization streamlined in robotics, has created significant changes in the robotics industry. These techniques use real-time measurements of human physiological signals, such as breathing rate, to adjust the control parameters and other functions.
Besides, major players in the market for wearable robotic exoskeletons are integrating removable and rechargeable battery packs, assistive torque, and other operating algorithms to assist users with heavy lifting and other strenuous or repetitive activities.
Increasing Adoption of Exoskeletons Devices in the Medical Industry to Fuel Growth
The demand for exoskeleton devices in the medical industry is flourishing rapidly. This is mainly due to the rising prevalence of inborn physical disabilities, the increasing number of vehicular accidents, and other factors. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Centre (NSCIAC), in 2018, around 288,000 people in the United States were living with spinal cord injuries, with an annual incidence of approximately 17,700 new cases per year.
Similarly, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, in 2018, nearly 1.0 million people in the United States and about 2.3 million people across the globe suffered from multiple sclerosis. In addition to that, the University of Alabama-Birmingham Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that motor vehicle crashes have been the leading cause of reported spinal cord injury cases (38%), followed by falls (32%), acts of violence (14%), and sports injuries (8%).
Besides, the emergence of lightweight, soft-suit wearable robotics exoskeletons has proven to be a new way to assist the elderly in maintaining or restoring their gait and in rehabilitating children and adults. According to the American Heart Association, more than 6.5 million Americans have suffered a stroke, with 795,000 new incidences expected each year, and with a further forecast that 60% of these individuals will have lower limb disability. This would compel them to seek gait training as part of their overall therapy plan. Owing to the aforementioned factors, the deployment of exoskeletons across the medical industry is likely to increase in the future.
Apart from this, major manufacturers are proactively strengthening their market positions by introducing technologically competitive devices in the healthcare industry in order to sustain themselves in the global market. For instance, in January 2020, GenElex Technologies announced that it would focus on producing external wearing devices for people suffering from paralysis, stroke, and spinal cord injury. The company’s wearable robotic exoskeleton devices would further enhance people's limbic capabilities.
Massive Investments and Non-coverage of Wearable Robotic Devices by Insurance Companies is Detaining Market Growth
Today, wearable robotic exoskeletons are extensively used for performing various activities, such as lifting heavy and complex tools and aiding the mobility of aged people prone to injuries. These robots are also experiencing expanded usage in military operations as they aid in enhancing the endurance of warfighters on the field with excess safety measures, which is also augmenting the growth of the market.
However, massive investments required at the initial stage to procure these devices are a challenging factor detaining market growth. The associated costs, mainly installation, integration of intelligent sensors and software solutions, training and rehabilitating charges/fees, after-sales services, and timely maintenance, would increase the overall ownership costs.
Also, the insertion of advanced, intuitive technologies sometimes creates multidisciplinary concerns, leading to undesirable consequences at many levels. This makes the robot physically sensitive and empathetic to the user’s movements. On the other hand, the patient has to trust and rely on the robot’s movement. This sometimes might fail to give the desired results and physically harm the operator.
Besides, many insurance providers are still limiting themselves by excluding cover for robotics-based therapies in their policies. This is mainly due to the high exoskeleton costs, further creating complexities in the drafting of insurance plans and policies. For instance, according to sources, exoskeleton technology could add more than USD 0.50 million to patient claims. This also restricts customers from registering for such high-end schemes and hamper the wearable robotic exoskeleton market growth.
Powered Segment to Hold Dominant Share Backed by Its Ability to Cater to a Wide Range of Applications
By technology type, the market is segmented into powered and passive. The demand for powered exoskeletons is expected to dominate the growth significantly over the forecast period. Powered types of exoskeleton robots are capable of shifting loads, thereby stimulating effective mobility with minimal fatigue or injury. This is particularly useful in the case of armed forces moving to cover longer distances in uneven terrains such as mountains and tall buildings. Hence, this segment is estimated to have the maximum year-on-year growth during the forecast period.
Besides, the passive exoskeleton segment is expected to hold a minimal market share and show moderate growth in the upcoming years.
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Industrial Segment to Grow Significantly Backed by Surging Number of Users Globally
By application, the market for wearable robotic exoskeletons is segmented into healthcare, industrial, defense & aerospace, and others (commercial, etc.). The industrial application segment is projected to grow at a significant rate, with the increasing adoption of wearable robotic exoskeletons. Many applications have adopted exoskeletons in order to enhance the capability of the workforce. Some of the examples of industrial users of exoskeletons include automakers such as BMW, Honda, Ford, and Hyundai; electronics manufacturers such as Samsung, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and Siemens; and logistics & shipping firms such as Geodis, Pon, and AT.
Moreover, the defense and aerospace application segment is expected to have a prominent share of the market. Presently, soldiers are required to carry 80 to 660 lbs (40 to 300 kg) of weight. These exoskeletons enable soldiers to carry ~17 times more load than normal, making it easier for them to cover more ground. Thus, both these applications are expected to exhibit considerable growth in the upcoming years.
North America Wearable Robotic Exoskeleton Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)
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North America is anticipated to lead in terms of the share of wearable robotic exoskeleton industry, along with displaying steady growth in the upcoming years. This is owed to the presence of several prominent market players in the United States. Furthermore, substantial investments in wearable robotics by regional players are anticipated to create more opportunities for the development of advanced exoskeletons, with a variety of options and features based on the prevalent market trends.
The U.S is expected to hold a dominant share of the market. Its prevailing position in the global market is owed to the cumulative investments by the public as well as private organizations in the robotics sector. Also, the emphasis of these companies on R&D activities in order to develop efficient products, with increasing technological adoption for applications in the industrial, healthcare & military & defense sectors, will also boost the market.
Asia Pacific is projected to showcase exponential growth with the highest CAGR over the forecast period. This is on account of the rising awareness and the advantageous use of wearable robotics in manufacturing and construction activities. Also, a rise in the production of exoskeletons for the defense sector is expected to be a major factor driving the market, with China, Japan, and South Korea estimated to be the major revenue-generating economies.
Europe is also expected to hold a notable share of the market. It is set to remain in the second position because of its ongoing technological advancements, along with R&D activities and the prevailing presence of exoskeleton manufacturers in the region.
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Besides, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are expected to lead and exhibit reasonable year-on-year growth in the coming years, owing to the shift of the market from North America to Asia Pacific. This is expected to make the company focus more on developing countries present in these regions, with consumers having adequate purchasing power.
Key Players to Focus on Developing Advanced Wearable Robotic Exoskeletons to Expand Product Portfolios
The global market is dominated by prominent players. However, regional and local markets are also highly fragmented due to the presence of small and medium manufacturers. Cyberdyne Inc., Ekso Bionics, Lockheed Martin, Hocoma, ExoAtlet, Sarcos Corp., Bionik Laboratories, ReWalk Robotics, Rex Bionics, and Wearable Robotics Srl are some of the major market players, accounting for ~42% - 47% market share.
The large share of these players is owed to their dominant presence in the professional service robotics market, along with their key developmental strategies implemented. End-users are inclined to purchase wearable robotic exoskeletons from trusted brands as they have a strong reputation and goodwill in the market. Additionally, these players provide exoskeletons for the construction and manufacturing sectors as per the need and applications. As a result, these manufacturers are expected to enjoy lucrative opportunities over the forecast period to enhance their businesses with the development of innovative products.
An Infographic Representation of Wearable Robotic Exoskeleton Market
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The wearable robotic exoskeleton market research report provides a detailed analysis and forecast of the industry and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, technology types, and leading product applications. Besides, it offers insights into the current market trends and highlights driving forces opportunities for technological development, advancements, and competitive benchmarking. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.
Value (USD Million)
Technology Type, Application, Geography
By Technology Type
Fortune Business Insights says that the market size stood at USD 474.4 million in 2020.
In 2028, the market is expected to be worth USD 8,241.7 million.
The market will exhibit an incredible CAGR of 43.1% over the forecast period (2021-2028).
The North American market size stood at USD 182.8 million in 2020.
The powered segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period within the technology type criterion.
The increasing adoption of exoskeleton devices in the medical industry is likely to fuel the market.
Cyberdyne Inc., Ekso Bionics, Lockheed Martin, Hocoma, ExoAtlet, Sarcos Corp, Bionik Laboratories, ReWalk Robotics, Rex Bionics, and Wearable Robotics Srl are the key market players.
The industrial application segment is expected to hold the highest share in the market.
The powered segment in terms of technology type is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period in the U.S.
The integration of various technologies embedded in robots is a vital trend in the market.
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