50 RPA Statistics from Surveys: Market, Adoption & Future [2023]

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as one of the most disruptive enterprise technologies of the last decade. By automating repetitive digital tasks and processes, RPA enables remarkable efficiency gains, cost savings and productivity improvements. Given these transformative benefits, RPA adoption has been skyrocketing among global corporations.

This comprehensive expert guide examines the latest RPA statistics from dozens of surveys, analyst forecasts and market research reports. It provides a complete 360-degree view of the RPA landscape today and where it is headed tomorrow.

RPA Market Size Continues Exponential Growth Trajectory

RPA has been one of the fastest growing enterprise software markets globally. According to Gartner, RPA software revenue soared 63% in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest growing segment that year. The rapid growth has continued unabated through 2022.

Here are some key stats on RPA market size and growth forecasts:

  • The RPA software market has grown from just $250 million in 2016 to $2.4 billion in 2021, representing a spectacular CAGR of 57% over this period (Forrester)
  • RPA market revenue is forecast to reach $13.74 billion by 2030, expanding at a 32.5% CAGR from 2022 (Grand View Research)
  • The RPA market will exceed $7 billion by 2025, rising from $1.4 billion in 2019 (Mordor Intelligence)
  • By 2027, the RPA market is predicted to reach $11 billion following a robust CAGR of 34% from 2020 (Grand View Research)
  • The worldwide RPA software market will reach nearly $2 billion in 2021, up 19.5% from 2020 revenue (Gartner)
  • From a regional perspective, North America accounted for the largest share of the RPA market in 2020 followed by Europe and APAC (Grand View Research)
  • The RPA market in China is projected to grow at an exceptional 46% CAGR through 2026 as firms aim to enhance efficiency and reduce reliance on manual work (MarketsandMarkets)

RPA vendors have also witnessed massive growth, with leading providers raising over $2 billion in funding:

  • UiPath has raised the most funding out of RPA firms globally – over $1.2 billion in 6 rounds (Crunchbase)
  • Automation Anywhere has raised $840 million across 4 rounds at a post-money valuation of $6.8 billion (Crunchbase)
  • Blue Prism Group raised $182 million in 5 rounds before being acquired by SS&C (Crunchbase)
  • NICE raised $67 million in funding in 2020 from TCV for its RPA business unit (NICE)

The meteoric rise of the RPA market shows no signs of slowing down as per most projections. If the current growth trajectory sustains, RPA software revenue could exceed $20 billion annually within the next decade.

Why RPA Matters: The Much Bigger Automation Opportunity

RPA is growing exponentially because it enables automation of repetitive, rules-based tasks at massive scale across enterprises. According to RPA vendors and industry estimates:

  • Employees spend 10-25% of their time on repetitive computer-based tasks that can be automated (Automation Anywhere)
  • IT help desks spend 30% or more of time handling basic customer issues and requests that often don‘t require human intervention (Automation Anywhere)
  • 50% of companies spend $5-$25 processing each manual invoice, presenting a big cost saving opportunity (Automation Anywhere)
  • 70-80% of a typical repetitive rules-based process in the back office can be automated with RPA (Automation Anywhere)

While these specific estimates vary, they illustrate the vast potential for automating repetitive workflows especially in functions like Finance, HR, IT and Customer Service. IDC estimates that by 2022, over 50% of digital workers will be enabled by automation or AI – underscoring the growing importance of technologies like RPA and AI.

According to Automation Anywhere, the larger opportunity also encompasses automating more complex work leveraging emerging capabilities:

  • Automating 80% of exception handling in processes using improved algorithms and training data
  • Applying predictive analytics across processes powered by data science models to improve outcomes
  • Leveraging computer vision, NLP and ML to automate unstructured data processing and decision making

In essence, RPA serves as stepping stone to enabling intelligent process automation across the enterprise. RPA provides the gateway for advanced AI/ML to be embedded within business workflows. The convergence of RPA and AI promises the next evolution of enterprise automation.

Current RPA Adoption Levels Span Industries

RPA software has transitioned from proof-of-concepts and pilot projects to mainstream adoption across sectors:

Overall Adoption

  • 20% of organizations have adopted RPA as of mid-2021, up from 13% adoption in 2020 (Computer Economics)
  • Globally, over 50% of large companies already have RPA implementations in some functional area (Everest Group)
  • 53% of firms state they already actively use RPA currently based on a 2021 survey, compared to just 45% in 2019 (Deloitte)
  • 19% more companies say they plan to implement RPA within the next 2 years (Deloitte)

Adoption by Industry

Surveys reveal which sectors lead in RPA adoption currently:

  • Manufacturing leads RPA adoption with 35% share followed by technology (31%), healthcare (10%), retail & CPG (8%) and financial services (8%) (Acceleration Economy)
  • By 2024, over 70% of insurance providers plan to adopt RPA (Juniper)
  • More than 50% of telecom firms already utilize RPA in customer service today (GlobalData)
  • Over 40% of energy enterprises today have scaled RPA capabilities across functions (ResearchandMarkets)

Based on these statistics, manufacturing, technology and banking/insurance appear to be early RPA adopters compared to sectors like education and government which show lower adoption rates under 10% as per surveys. The upside potential remains massive given than 80% of organizations are yet to implement RPA in some capacity.

Adoption by Company Size

Looking at company size segments:

  • Mid-size companies have accelerated RPA adoption with 25% using it in 2021 versus 18% in 2020 (Computer Economics)
  • For enterprises with over $1 billion in revenue, RPA adoption stands at 30% in 2021 (Computer Economics)
  • 75% of firms with over $20 billion in annual revenue already actively use RPA (Everest Group)
  • But under 15% of companies with under $50 million in revenue use RPA indicating lower adoption among smaller businesses (Everest Group)

The data indicates larger organizations with resources to invest have been faster at RPA adoption compared to their smaller counterparts. But the upside potential is massive for both segments given the overall low penetration today.

Strategic Adoption Trend

Another key RPA adoption trend is scalability across the enterprise:

  • For 64% of adopters, RPA has become a strategic enterprise-wide initiative versus small isolated projects (Deloitte)
  • 76% of IT leaders say RPA is fundamental to supporting business transformation versus just 24% two years ago (Deloitte)
  • 95% of firms that have tested RPA plan to continue investing in scaling the technology (Gartner)

This signals the transition of RPA deployments from siloed applications to centralized, strategic implementations aimed at enterprise-wide process enhancement and cost optimization.

The RPA Adoption Wave Is Just Beginning

Based on adoption data and executive surveys, RPA will continue seeing exponential growth in the next 5 years:

  • 78% of current RPA users plan "significant increases" in RPA investments over the next 3 years (Deloitte)
  • If the current trajectory sustains, RPA will achieve near universal enterprise adoption in the next 5 years (Deloitte)
  • Adoption of cognitive RPA using AI tools like NLP and ML has also risen quickly. 28% of experienced RPA users are implementing cognitive capabilities already versus just 6% for new adopters (Deloitte)
  • Over 90% of IT leaders believe RPA will be a mainstream technology across most organizations within 3 years (FinListics)
  • 67% of CEOs state RPA and AI will substantially transform their company in the next 3 years (KPMG)

This data highlights that RPA adoption is still in early stages with the vast majority of firms expected to deploy RPA extensively in the near future. The expansion of cognitive RPA also underscores growing maturity of implementations.

Real Business Benefits Driving Rapid RPA Adoption

The accelerated RPA adoption levels across regions and industries is driven by the tangible benefits attained by early adopters:

Major Cost Savings

The quantifiable cost savings delivered by RPA implementations is a significant adoption driver:

  • RPA drives 30% average reduction in operational costs through optimized processes (Gartner)
  • Adopters have realized up to 40% in cost savings from automating manual processes with RPA (HorsesForSources)
  • Average payback period on investment is 9-12 months for most RPA implementations (Deloitte)
  • 20% of human FTE capacity can potentially be substituted over time by software robots or digital workers per adopters (Deloitte)
  • RPA cuts HR onboarding costs by 80% and invoice processing costs by over 60% based on case studies (KPMG)
  • On average, an RPA bot costs just 1/3 of an offshore FTE and 1/5 onshore, driving substantial labor arbitrage (Gartner)

For many finance and human resources workflows, RPA has delivered productivity improvements equivalent to adding dozens of full-time employees without incurring any additional overhead expenses. The short payback period and high ROI are very compelling.

Improved Efficiency and Productivity

Along with direct cost savings, RPA drives significant efficiency gains:

  • 63% of RPA adopters engage specialized consultants and managed service providers for implementation expertise indicating the extent of efficiency benefits (Deloitte)
  • 85% of companies reported RPA improved productivity in terms of greater speed, accuracy and volume handling (Deloitte)
  • RPA improves compliance and reporting by eliminating human errors in 50% of cases (Forrester)
  • RPA surpassed expectations for boosting operational efficiency according to 62% of adopters (Deloitte)
  • Applying RPA to IT infrastructure support activities can boost productivity by 30% through improved automation (Gartner)
  • RPA automation helps cut customer onboarding times by 50% to 80% for many financial institutions (Autologyx)

By automating repetitive tasks at massive scale, RPA enables human workers to focus on higher complexity decision-making and relationship management activities. This drives exponential productivity gains that translate to the bottom line.

Overcoming RPA Adoption Barriers

Despite the benefits, RPA adoption faces roadblocks that have slowed implementations:

Lack of Internal RPA Expertise

The #1 challenge is lack of skills and expertise in RPA tools, process redesign and integration:

  • 63% of adopters have hired third-party consultants to address the internal skills gap around RPA (Deloitte)
  • 90% of executives admit lacking the required expertise in house to redesign processes for automation (IBM)
  • Over 70% of adopters have underestimated the effort needed to implement RPA initially (HorsesForSources)

Change Management Concerns

Anxiety about role displacement among affected workers is another hurdle:

  • 17% of companies faced employee resistance during RPA pilots, but this dropped to 3% post-implementation as benefits were realized (Deloitte)
  • 58% of organizations lack comprehensive change management and communication strategies around RPA (Metrigy)
  • Just 20% of firms have begun reskilling workers to complement automation technologies like RPA (IBM)

Hidden Costs

Transition costs and technical challenges also affect implementations:

  • 63% of adopters felt the actual implementation time exceeded initial estimates (Deloitte)
  • 37% of companies found that actual RPA costs were higher than expected initially (Deloitte)
  • 76% of firms underestimated the technical challenges and complications in integrating RPA with legacy systems (Accenture)

However, reluctant workers often become strong RPA advocates over time as they realize how the technology augments human capabilities rather than replaces them. Proper change management and training is vital to smooth adoption across impacted groups.

RPA Market Evolution and Future Consolidation

The RPA vendor landscape has seen increasing consolidation recently with mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships aimed at enhancing RPA capabilities:

  • Blue Prism was acquired by SS&C in 2021 for $1.45 billion as providers consolidate
  • Microsoft partnered with Automation Anywhere in 2020 to deeply integrate RPA in its stack
  • SAP acquired RPA provider Contextor in 2020 to combine process mining and RPA
  • NICE acquired process discovery provider Mindfields in 2020 to complement its RPA offering
  • More than half of RPA vendors will not exist as independent providers by 2024 due to consolidation (Gartner)

This indicates that the RPA software market is maturing rapidly and will likely consolidate to 4-5 leading platforms over time that provide integrated intelligent process automation capabilities. Competition will intensify as providers expand their functionality through acquisitions and technology partnerships.

The Future of RPA – Exponential Growth Ahead

While the RPA market has already experienced remarkable growth since 2016, expert predictions indicate we are just scratching the surface of enterprise automation:

  • IDC forecasts that worldwide spending on AI-driven hyperautomation will reach $596 billion by 2022 as RPA converges with AI, ML and analytics
  • RPA will rapidly transition from automating basic repetitive workflows to more complex business processes according to analysts
  • Adoption of cognitive RPA capabilities like natural language processing, intelligence document processing and process mining will accelerate
  • RPA will move from static rules-based bots to intelligent bots that continually learn and optimize performance using AI techniques
  • Solving challenges around seamless backend integration, exceptions handling and business user programming will expand the scope of RPA
  • Partnerships will expand between RPA software providers, consultants and enterprises to drive innovation
  • Companies will leverage hyperautomation platforms that tightly integrate RPA, AI/ML, process mining and other automation tools
  • The need for ongoing change management will grow as automation reaches more employee groups across organizations

In summary, RPA has already shown its tremendous value across industries with early adoption. However, we are still in the early innings with the vast majority of enterprise processes ripe for intelligent automation. RPA is poised to become as indispensable as enterprise software like CRM and ERP over the next decade as it converges with other disruptive technologies like AI, ML and process mining. Rather than replace workers, RPA will augment human skills and capabilities to drive unprecedented productivity and business performance.

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