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Capital Expenditures for Robotic Equipment: 2020

The 2020 Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES) marks the third time that capitalized expenditures for robotic equipment were collected to fill a data gap in response to growing interest and high demand by researchers, congress, and other stakeholders to measure robotics as part of official government statistics. Specifically, measures that could inform data users on robot adoption intensity and the impact on employment and productivity.

In order to meet the needs of its data users, the Census Bureau has made it a priority to:

  1. Measure the industries that are using robotic equipment.
  2. Publish the robotic equipment expenditures data annually in conjunction with the ACES report.

Capital expenditures for both industrial and service robotics are collected from employer businesses. For the first time in the 2020 ACES, robotics were collected at the industry level to allow the Census Bureau to provide estimates that reflect the NAICS industries the robotic investments were made in for large companies whose investments span multiple NAICS codes. Prior ACES estimates collected robotics at the firm level.

The robotic equipment tables provide national level estimates of capital expenditures for robotic equipment by 2-digit NAICS sector (Table 1a) and select 3-digit and 4-digit NAICS industries (Table 2a).

General Highlights

Robotic equipment expenditures in 2020 totaled $9,853 million and accounted for 1.0 percent of total equipment expenditures.

Sector Highlights

Three sectors (Manufacturing, Retail Trade, and Healthcare and Social Assistance) accounted for $8,840 million (89.7 percent) of total robotic equipment expenditures.

The Manufacturing sector was the largest investor with $4,944 million and accounted for 50.2 percent of all robotic equipment expenditures.

The Retail trade sector is the second largest investor with $3,383 million and accounted for 34.3 percent of all robotic equipment expenditures.

Industry Highlights

Five industries invested a total of $3,478 million in robotic equipment and accounted for 70.3 percent of overall spending for robotics in the manufacturing sector.

  • Food manufacturing ($688 million)
  • Plastics and rubber products manufacturing ($372 million)
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing ($354 million)
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing ($579 million)
  • Motor vehicle, body trailer, and parts manufacturing ($1,485 million)

General medical and surgical hospitals invested $424 million in robotic equipment and accounted for 82.7 percent of overall spending for robotic equipment in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector.




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