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Bumpy road ahead predicted for global manufacturing industry

Joseph Walker

Jos Walker

Marketing Communications

Jos has over 10 years' experience in B2B marketing, mostly for blue-chip industrial automation companies like Emerson and General Electric. He started working with IA in 2019, and handles a variety of PR and marketing communications-related activities.


  • Global industrial output will continue to be on a helter-skelter ride but will end strongly in the coming year; 2022 is predicted to be a crunch year, with a further recovery after that
  • Easing of Sino-US trade friction will lead to 0.5% growth in Chinese exports for 2020
  • Commercial vehicles was a bright spot, with growth of 5.4% globally in 2019

Interact Analysis’s updated Manufacturing Industry Output Tracker (MIO) outlines the challenges – political and economic – which lie ahead for the global industrial sector.


Interact Analysis has updated its MIO Tracker, which quantifies global manufacturing production, enabling it to make confident predictions across all industrial and machinery sectors for the next 5 years. The report shows that the current deceleration in manufacturing output seen in 2019 is expected to continue into early 2020. However, a solid recovery is anticipated by 2021, before the sector enters another natural business downcycle towards the end of 2022. A significant rise in output for most industrial segments is then forecast beyond 2022.


The short-term impact of this will be a reduction in manufacturing investments for 2020, with companies holding off on capital investments due to global economic and political instability.


Commercial vehicle production was a bright spot, with 2019 growth of 5.4% globally. This rounds off several recent years of strong growth in commercial vehicles, and we expect 2020 to be a slower year for the sector – but this is simply a natural part of the market’s cycle. The drive towards electrification of commercial vehicle fleets is accelerating, with one of the strongest growth sectors for electrification being so-called ‘last-mile’ eCommerce delivery vehicles that take goods from the final depot to customer homes.


While China is doing poorly compared to its previous growth rates, order intakes are beginning to rise and in 2019, China maintained its 6% GDP growth target. In particular, the growth rate of metal production in China has accelerated. Interact Analysis views this as an advanced indication of a recovery of the Chinese manufacturing sector more generally because metal production is the foundation of much mechanical equipment manufacturing; as well as China’s largest output industry. By 2024, electrical and electronic production, and chemical and pharmaceutical production, are expected to overtake metal production in terms of output value.


Due to the signing between China and the US of the first part of the agreement for the US to phase out tariff increases, Interact Analysis predicts an increase of 0.5% in Chinese exports during 2020. This will lead to improved manufacturing investment and market confidence.


Adrian Lloyd, CEO of Interact Analysis says: “Our Manufacturing Industry Output Tracker is the most complete analysis of global manufacturing to date. It is complex, multi-faceted, data-driven, and interactive. We are confident it will prove to be an invaluable tool for strategists and planners across all industrial sectors. For me, it is particularly interesting to note that sectors catering for the most basic of human needs have seen the greatest industrial growth since 2007. These are industries aligned with food and beverages, shelter (aggregates) and clothing (textiles).”


About the MIO


The Manufacturing Industry Outlook tracker offers the most complete and unified analysis of the manufacturing industry globally. It quantifies the total value of manufacturing production with deep granularity for over 35 industries and machinery sectors, across 36 countries; presenting 10+ years of historical data alongside a credible five-year forecast. Country data from across the globe has been carefully organised around a common taxonomy to provide easy-to-interrogate, like-for-like comparisons. The historical data reveals the relationship between industry and machinery production for a complete business cycle, going back from pre-recession to the present day. Understanding these complex correlations, alongside current country and industry projections, provides a more accurate forecast by country, industry and machinery sector. 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

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