Market Insight

With growth exploding, the global operator terminal market reached $2.4 billion in 2017

August 28, 2018

Rita Liu Rita Liu Analyst, Manufacturing Technology Group

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  • The global operator terminal market – including text-based, basic graphical, advanced graphical, portable, embedded PLC hardware and web panel – grew more than 10 percent year over year, reaching $2.4 billion in 2017. The market is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2022.
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) continued to be the largest regional market for operator terminals in 2017, accounting for around 35 percent of global revenue, followed by Asia Pacific and the Americas.
  • With large-scale investment in downstream industries, the Asia-Pacific market experienced the fastest revenue growth, over 15 percent. This rising market is predicted to continue, leading growth across all regional markets from 2017 to 2022.
  • Web panels are forecast to grow fastest from 2017 to 2022, due to the increasing global deployment of web-based solutions. Advanced graphical operator terminals will continue to be the mainstream product type during the forecast period.

Our analysis

After experiencing a contraction in 2015, the global operator terminal market started to pick up beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016 and achieved record-high 10 percent year-over-year growth in 2017. The global economic upturn, recovering processing industries and increasing machinery production investment were the key reasons for the rising demand for operator terminals.

From a technical perspective, the role of operator terminals within industrial automation systems is not limited to daily operation and monitoring. They are also increasingly being used for processing and analyzing data locally; conversing protocols and exchanging data among machines; enabling remote access via mobile devices; and incorporating soft programmable logic control (PLC) and motion control. As operator terminals become even more mission critical, market growth will continue to rise through 2022.

According to the IHS Markit “Machinery Production Market Tracker,” Asia Pacific achieved record-high year-over-year growth of more than 15 percent in 2017, mainly driven by robust investment in electronics and electronic assembly, OLED displays and semiconductors, and growing demand for robotics, renewable energy, materials handling, automotive and machine tools. The growth momentum in the Asia-Pacific machinery production market has been trending downward since the end of the second quarter of 2018. However, supported by stable machinery production and automation product upgrades, Asia Pacific is still expected to lead growth across all regional markets to 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) nearing 8 percent.

EMEA continued to be the largest regional market for operator terminals, accounting for 35 percent of global revenues. Together with Japan, EMEA is predicted to underperform the global operator terminal market slightly from 2017 to 2022.

Across all product segments, web panels are the smallest, but they also boast the highest CAGR, over 150 percent, from 2017 to 2022. Not many suppliers are offering this product type now, but with even wider application of web-based solutions, the demand for web panels as web clients is increasing, so the revenue from web panels is growing fastest, followed by portable operator terminals and graphical operator terminals.

The competitive landscape of the global operator terminal market remained relatively stable from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, Pro-face was the largest supplier in both South Korea and Taiwan, and Siemens was the largest in India.

About the Operator Terminals – Annual Intelligence Service

The 2018 Operator Terminals Report from IHS Markit examines the worldwide market for operator terminals. It provides executives with an up-to-date, comprehensive, description of the global operator terminal market. The report also identifies the trends that will affect the market over the next five years.

Research by Market
Manufacturing Technology
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