25 Jul 2024


Global drives market `will fall by 10.4%` in 2009

The economic downturn will shrink the global market for industrial drives by 10.4% in 2009, according to the latest predictions from the market analyst, IMS Research. But the market will still be bigger than it was in 2007. Between 2007 and 2008, the world market for industrial drives expanded by 12.6%, to reach a value of around $16.5bn, with more than 20 million drives being shipped during the year.

IMS also predicts that the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) will overtake Japan as the biggest design centre for industrial drives during 2011. Although EMEA was the largest manufacturing location for industrial drives until 2007, the Asia-Pacific overtook it in 2008 as a result of the expanding production of low-end drives in the region.

The biggest growth in the drives market during 2008 was in sales of medium-voltage and “premium” AC drives, both of which grew by more than 20% over their 2007 levels. IMS links this performance to rapid growth in the industries that use these drives – such as renewable energy, oil and gas, mining and metals – and to a shift in focus from low-end to high-performance products by major players such as ABB and Siemens. The premium product categories are expected to outperform the total industrial drives market during the recession.

On the other hand, sales of motion control products, such as servo and stepper drives, are expected to be poor during the downturn. These sales rely heavily on sectors such as semiconductors, robotics, machine tools, and printing, that have been hit badly by the recession. As a result, IMS predicts that the servo drives market will contract by nearly 20% in terms of revenues during 2009, while the stepper drives market will decline by more than 8%.
The EMEA region continues to be the leading buyer of industrial drives, with revenues worth about $7.2bn during 2008, accounting for more than 43% of the global market. The region represents the largest geographic market for all types of industrial drive, but has a significantly greater proportion of sales in the higher-end categories, accounting for more than 58% of global revenues for premium drives during 2008.

After expanding by 14.8% in 2008, the EMEA drives market is expected to shrink by 13.6% in 2009 – a bigger decline than in the Americas, but less severe than in Japan. Asia-Pacific is the only regional market forecast to have positive growth in 2009. IMS attributes this to the continuing economic expansion in China, where GDP is forecast to rise by almost 9% this year, and to the focus on energy conservation by the Chinese government, demonstrated by a recent stimulus package and by the national programme aimed at cutting industrial energy consumption by 20% over a five-year period.