The worldwide industrial drives market was estimated to be worth approximately $16.5 billion in 2008, with more than 20 million drive units shipped during the year. According to the latest statistics published by IMS Research, revenue growth was substantial in 2008, with market revenues increasing by 12.6% over 2007 levels. In contrast, the market is expected to decline by 10.4% in 2009 as a result of the global economic downturn.
The total industrial drives market comprises seven product types – compact AC, standard AC, premium AC, DC, medium voltage, servo, and stepper drives. Of these products, premium drives and medium voltage drives had the greatest growth in 2008, increasing by more than 20% over 2007 levels. This performance is linked to rapid growth of the major industry sectors that utilize these drives, namely renewable energy, oil & gas, mining, and metals. This impressive growth is also attributed to the shift in focus from low-end to high-performance products, specifically by automation giants ABB and Siemens. These premium product categories are also expected to outperform the total industrial drives market during the global recession. On the other hand, the markets for motion control products, such as servo and stepper drives, are expected to perform poorly during the downturn. These products rely heavily on the semiconductor, robotics, machine tool, and printing industries, sectors that have been severely depressed by the recession. As a result, the servo drives market is predicted to contract by nearly 20% in terms of revenues in 2009, while the stepper drives market is forecast to decline by more than 8%.