Robotic Micro-Fulfillment Centres Forecast to Fulfil 8% of US Online Grocery Orders in 2025 – Interact Analysis

Contact:  Joseph Walker, Interact Analysis, UK

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12th January 2021

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Robotic Micro-Fulfillment Centres Forecast to Fulfil 8% of US Online Grocery Orders in 2025 – Interact Analysis

  • The automated MFC market is forecast to grow to just above $5.5bn in 2025. Up from $136m in 2020 – a CAGR of 104%
  • More than 2,000 micro-fulfillment centres forecast to be built by 2025 globally
  • Recurring revenues, such as service contracts, will be important for automation vendors

London, 12 January 2021 – Market intelligence company Interact Analysis starts 2021 with a new report on automated micro-fulfillment centres (MFCs). In this first report of the new year, the focus is on one positive that has come out of the COVID-19 crisis – the growth in the number of retail-based MFCs, and the openings this offers for manufacturers of automation equipment.

Concerns over future lockdowns and customers’ heightened expectations regarding fast delivery are driving retailers to re-evaluate their fulfilment strategies. Many of them, particularly in the groceries sector, are installing MFCs in existing premises. They are closer to the customer than massive distribution centres, and they can be installed in weeks and months, rather than years. Ocado’s Zoom facility in Acton, for example, offers same-day delivery to a 5km radius in London, and the drive for efficiency and speed is propelling the automation of these facilities.

The automated MFC market is forecast to grow to just above $5.5bn in 2025. Up from $136m in 2020 – a CAGR of 104% (including both project and recurring revenues). Interact Analysis forecasts that by 2025 just over 2,100 micro-fulfillment centres will have been installed, 69% of them being built in 2024 and 2025. They also forecast that in 2025 the grocery sector will account for 45% of micro-fulfillment automation revenues. Retailers will make use of their existing real estate assets before constructing purpose-built micro-fulfillment centres. For this reason, grocers will favour retail-based MFCs, where the MFC is co-located with the retail store, due to their large real estate networks. General merchandise retailers, on the other hand, which tend to have fewer and smaller real estate assets, will favour dark stores and distribution centre-based MFCs.

A study by Mercatus recently found that online grocery could account for 21.5% of the total US grocery market by 2025. With each micro-fulfillment centre generating approximately $30 million in revenue, our forecast suggests that micro-fulfillment centres will fulfil approximately 8% of total US online grocery sales in 2025 with the remaining 92% being fulfilled in-store or from centralized fulfillment centres.

The top 3 suppliers of automated micro-fulfillment centre equipment in 2020 were Dematic, Takeoff Technologies, and Exotec, who accounted for 71% of the sector. The number of micro-fulfillment centre projects they completed in 2020 was 29, a relatively small number but it is forecast to increase dramatically over the next 4 years, with new companies offering innovative solutions and lots of competition.

Rueben Scriven, Senior Analyst at Interact Analysis says: “The number of new automated micro-fulfillment centre projects is growing at a phenomenal rate. This represents a major market opportunity for automated equipment suppliers not only in the installation phase, but in the potential for recurring revenues through additional services such as maintenance contracts, software, and fulfilment-as-a-service models. There really is a lot of potential here. Automated equipment vendors should sit up and take notice.”



About the report

Interact Analysis’s forecasting of the automated micro-fulfillment centre (MFC) equipment market is derived from primary research interviews with retailers and MFC equipment vendors. They interviewed a large number of end-users to understand their MFC strategies and to find out how many automated premises they plan to roll out throughout the forecast period. They then used interviews with automated MFC vendors as well as general warehouse automation vendors to corroborate these estimates to form a holistic and unbiased view of the market. The company gained detailed data through interviews and surveys of the vast majority of MFC vendors, corresponding to 79% of projects installed in 2020. Of those not interviewed, Interact Analysis had previous knowledge of one major vendor who features in an earlier report – The future of Warehouse automation – 2020. To learn more, visit

About Interact Analysis

Interact Analysis is an international provider of market research for the Intelligent Automation sector. Our team of experienced industry analysts delivers research into three core sectors: industrial automation, robotics and warehouse automation, and commercial vehicles. Intelligent Automation – which is the integration of artificial intelligence and automation – will change virtually every industry imaginable. This combination enables greater efficiencies, productivity, convenience, and scale. It has the potential to drastically alter the outlook for many traditional industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and automotive as well as to lead to the emergence of entirely new industries. To learn more, visit