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6 September 2023

Robotics shake up the apparel retail space 

The apparel retailing landscape today is challenged by an increasingly competitive environment fuelled by technologically advanced e-commerce pure-plays like Amazon, according to a GlobalData report titled ‘Robotics in Retail and Apparel‘

As the e-commerce sector experienced booming growth during the pandemic, retail companies accelerated digitalisation to keep up with demand. 

GlobalData details the areas in robotics where retailers should focus their time and resources. 

It explains that logistics robots, industrial co-bots, and inspection, cleaning, and maintenance robots should receive the most investment from companies across the retail and apparel value chain. 

Robotic intelligence and cloud robotics will be lucrative investment areas for several retail and apparel value chain segments. GlobalData believes these areas should be explored in the future when further technological developments and robotic infrastructure investments have been made. 

In addition to this, drone technology will be another area of disruption for retailers’ traditional distribution and logistics models. Drones are filling gaps in delivery systems, including reaching isolated areas with the report pointing out that large players are already investing in this area. 

In August 2022, Amazon announced it would start delivering goods via electric drones to customers in Lockeford, California. The company claims it has developed a system that navigates drones safely around obstacles such as pets, people, and other aircraft without human visual observers supervising them. 

6 September 2023

Hiring for robotics roles in apparel falls in August 2023 

The number of apparel companies hiring robotics-related positions falls in August, as the US sees the highest number of employees in this area, according to new statistics from GlobalData. 

The number of robotics roles posted in the apparel sector fell to the lowest rate this year in August, according to GlobalData’s jobs database. 

In March 2023, the number of robotics jobs posted in the apparel sector totalled 932. By August this had fallen to 97 – the lowest rate seen so far this year. 

The top recruiters for robotics positions in the apparel sector include Amazon, which had a total of 204 active jobs listed in the last 12 months. JD was only slightly behind with a total of 139 active jobs listed in the last 12 months. 

The US remains the biggest employer of robotics experts within the apparel supply chain, followed by Mexico, Canada, Germany and the UK. 

The latest statistics come after several years of heavy investment and interest in robotics in the apparel sector as companies in the supply chain look to streamline processes for both cost-saving and sustainability benefits. 

The latest figures follow a similar trend as seen in 2022, when hiring levels for robotics positions in the apparel supply chain again fell to a year-low. 

At the start of this year, Just Style reported that the industry had seen a 29% drop in new job postings related to robotics in Q3 2022 compared with the previous quarter, according to GlobalData’s whitepaper on Robotics in Apparel – Hiring Activity in Q3 2022.