The Indian warehouse automation market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 86.2 million in 2020, and is expected to reach USD 512.2 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 26.4%, over the period of 2021-2026 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period).
The warehousing property segment is emerging as a significant investment opportunity for investors. However, the COVID-19 lockdown has led to a considerable slowdown in the warehousing industry, with both investment activity and occupier leasing being subdued in Q1 2020. The first quarter witnessed only one investment deal worth USD 54 million in the Indian warehousing sector. Economists worldwide have forecast India’s GDP growth to slow down considerably in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown, affecting businesses across the board and reducing their aggregate demand for warehouses. However, in 2021 IMF projects India’s GDP to increase by 11.5%, and this factor is expected to impact the market positively.
India’s warehousing industry is undergoing a significant shift, keeping pace with the emerging manufacturing sector and the vast logistics industry. With the implementation of the goods and services tax and real estate investments, the warehousing industry is expected to benefit considerably.
For the first time, GST will ensure that India will see consolidated large space central warehousing parks instead of the current scattered standalone facilities. This will give enable the industry with an added advantage to look at more investments in the large warehouses and modernize the facility with automation technologies.
For instance, e-commerce giant Amazon, which has committed an investment of USD 5 billion in the Indian market, is investing in automated warehouses across India. It set up multiple new warehouses to cater to various categories. Amazon is among the first few companies in India that experimented and adopted robotics in their warehouses. Its Kiva robot engages in picking and packing process capabilities at large warehouses. Such robots’ usage brought a change in perception and made robotics and automation coexist within the warehousing sector.
Key Market Trends
Healthcare is Expected to hold a major share
According to the IBEF Indian Pharmaceutical Industry’s report published in November 2020, India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. The Indian pharmaceutical sector caters to over 50% of the global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the US, and 25% of all medicine in the UK. Pharmaceutical export from India stood at USD 16.3 billion in FY20. Pharmaceutical export includes bulk drugs, intermediates, drug formulations, biologicals, ayush and herbal products, and surgical. Such stats showcase the massive landscape of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, which requires significant automation in the warehouses for efficiency in the supply chain.
There is a growing need for increased output while improving operational efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry. Maintaining a high quality of products and safety standards is creating a significant demand for automation in the healthcare industry. As a result, there is a parallel growth of warehouse automation in the healthcare industry, as these systems facilitate the availability of the required products promptly, with minimal human interaction, thus enabling the prevention of contamination during the drug manufacturing process.
Also, the requirement of the samples and its lot number tracking, serial number recording, strict timeframe demands, increased security demands, and strict confidentiality is prevailing as significant factors that are increasing adoption of warehouse management software and robotic systems. Typical solutions include the areas of receiving, storage, put-away, replenishment, consolidation, order packing, and truck loading. The various load types of the pharma and healthcare markets, such as vials, strips, blisters, cartons, totes, poly bags, drums, and pallets, are significantly handled and conveyed.
The region is witnessing significant expansion activities in the pharma and healthcare warehouse segment. For instance, in August 2020, West Pharmaceutical Services announced the opening of its warehousing operations in Chennai, India.
Exponential Growth of the E-commerce industry in India
The e-commerce boom in India has benefitted several industries in India, especially the supply and logistics sector, wherein data science is applied heavily to shipment tracking. Now, with the continued rise of online shopping and changing buyer expectations, speed and accuracy of delivery have spurred e-commerce companies to find a faster way to reach customers.
The retail fulfillment paradigm shift sees a new dimension, with e-commerce giants competing fiercely to fulfill faster deliveries. That’s where warehouse automation and control system sales are stimulating growth by boosting operational efficiency. Today warehouse automation forms the backbone of e-commerce players in India such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, among other names. For instance, Noida-headquartered Falcon Autotech Pvt. Ltd provides its automated solutions inside the warehouses of such prominent e-commerce portals. Companies such as Amazon are not only acquiring large automated warehouses on lease but have also globally started acquiring a fleet of airplanes and warehousing robotic companies.
Rapidly, most offline traditional retail stores are expected to have an online version, making the in-store shopping experience more holistic and ensuring that lack of shelf inventory is made up by warehouse inventory, increasing their customer loyalty base in this process.
Large-format wholesalers and offline retailers are stepping up and changing their efforts to serve customers online and build omnichannel models to meet the increasing demand for essential goods and groceries. The overall architecture of retail will be changed with social distancing as a critical component. Customers were reluctant to go to places where there isn’t enough social distancing, or the hygiene standards are not perceivably available and played a significant role in rising in the adoption of e-commerce in India.
The Indian Warehouse Automation Market is on a rapid rise thus multiple foreign companies are making significant investments in India. Further with the ongoing rise of e-commerce and new innovation strategies of large and small enterprise companies are expected to drive market growth. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
December 2020 - Pune-based FM Logistic India is announced to set up intra-city warehousing units across Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, where one of the models is to build the warehouse from scratch vertically instead of horizontally, as it gives the possibility of separation between the different customers and has a considerable advantage for the cold storage for pharma.
September 2020 - GreyOrange announced patents for technology essential for companies to achieve high-yield omnichannel fulfillment as well as to maximize facility space utilization through multilevel operation capabilities. The patents cover First-to-Fill Technology, Retail-Ready Fulfilment, Multilevel Robot Mobility.
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