According to the IFR , Japan exported a total of nearly 115,000 industrial robots worth approximately $ 2.7 billion in 2016. Compared with 2011, the export rate rose from 72 to 75%, with absolute sales units also rising. Further growth can be expected for 2017 and onwards. North America, China, South Korea and Europe were the primary export destinations. In contrast, Japanese robot imports were at an extremely low level: only about 1% of installations come from imports.
Five main markets are driving global sales of industrial robots at the moment: China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United States and Germany. To compare : Germany is the fifth-largest robotics market in the world and by far the largest in Europe. In 2015 annual new installations accounted for 36% of total robot sales in Europe; based on the stock, i.e. the installed basis, the figure is 41%.