New research from market intelligence authority for global supply chain automation, Interact Analysis, shows that the low voltage (LV) motors market saw the highest revenue growth in history during 2021, driven by historic price increases as a result of supply chain disruptions. Growth in unit terms of 6.6% was much more in line with the broader rate of recovery seen in the manufacturing sector globally.
Supply chain disruptions have included shortages of key components and raw materials – with steel, copper, and aluminium in particular reaching record highs in 2021 – as well as major increases to shipping prices.
China continues to be the world’s largest motor market and, although ABB and Siemens continue to be global market leaders, domestic Chinese companies, including Wolong Electric and Wanan Motors are now entering the top ten global suppliers. During 2022 we expect to see Wolong hit the top spot in APAC, which will be a first for a Chinese supplier.
Despite strong performance in 2021 the overall machinery production sector is expected to suffer a short period of contraction in 2023/24 as a result of rising interest rates. This will be felt in the motor market. Europe in particular is expected to suffer from this period of downturn as it is heavily weighted towards machinery production.
Shipping rates have created a significant problem for the LV motors market, with the 2021 container shortage seeing rates increase tenfold. They will not return to normal anytime soon, if ever. A combination of high demand and an increased number of truck drivers exiting the industry does not bode well for the market. The knock-on effect of this coupled with the rise in energy prices has caused an exponential rise in raw material costs. In particular, steel prices are through the roof (and will remain so for the foreseeable future), which is having a major impact on the price of motors.
Blake Griffin, senior analyst at Interact Analysis says, “For me, one of the most interesting findings of this research is related to new high efficiency IE4 and IE5 motors. There is a lot of hype surrounding them, but the market has shown that it will generally not adopt them unless forced to by legislation. Currently, the IE4 and IE5 motor market is in its infancy with a market size of USD134-million in 2020. But major growth is predicted in the European Union which is putting IE4 minimum efficiency performance standards in place.”