IHS expects the market, which slowed last year, to pick up gradually from the end of 2016 as orders from the process sector improve and as industrial PCs find applications outside the traditional industrial automation sector.
The performance of the operator terminal market depends largely on the growth in the industries that use them. The three largest discrete markets in 2014 were the automotive, packaging machinery, and food, beverage and tobacco machinery sectors – with estimated combined global revenues of nearly $650m.
Starting from a low base, the robotics sector is forecast to be the fastest-growing application sector, with a CAGR of 10.3% from 2014 to 2019. It will be followed by the chemical and pharmaceuticals sector with a CAGR of 5.6% from 2014 to 2019, partly driven by falls in material costs as a result of the low oil prices.
Mining is forecast to be the worst-performing sector, with a CAGR of –1.7% from 2014 to 2019.
IHS estimates that EMEA was the largest regional market for operator terminals in 2014, accounting for 37.9% of global sales, followed by Asia-Pacific (24.8%) the Americas (24.4%), and Japan (12.9%). Latin American countries are struggling against recession, while the US market is forecast to grow the fastest, driven by its improving economy. IHS expects it to exceed the Asia-Pacific market this year.
The Asia-Pacific market has slowed down to record the second-fastest growth rate, due mainly to the downturn in the Chinese economy. India is forecast to have the fastest growth in the region, with Japan remaining the smallest and the slowest-growing market.