The autonomous tractor market is projected to register a CAGR of 25.4% during the forecast period (2021-2026). During COVID-19, the sector saw a sharp dip in the tractor business, and the most affected business was the dealership network due to the disruption in the supply chain and as manufacturing units were also not 100% active. Due to the travel restrictions, production was delayed and supply was being interrupted, which resulted in a sharp decrease in sales of the tractor business during 2019-2020.
Agricultural labor is decreasing as a result of the price of farm labor rising. Farmers are increasingly adopting agricultural mechanization as a substitute for manual labor with more cost-effective, easily available, and more efficient means of agricultural operation. Tractors are the primary source of power for driving agricultural machinery.
The semi-autonomous systems operate independently enough within reasonable distances that the farmer can intervene if any problems occur, and therefore, they are more realistic than fully autonomous equipment. Because of the presence of the operator on agricultural vehicles, the safety of such a semi-autonomous system can be easily ensured without the incorporation of costly sensors and complicated sensor fusion algorithms, making them the most feasible for farmers to purchase, especially in developing economies.
The North American and Asia-Pacific regions are identified to be the fastest-growing markets, and the companies located in these regions are increasingly launching new autonomous tractors, dominating the market with faster innovations and product launches.
Key Market Trends
Shortage of Farm Labor and the Declining Arable Land
Due to decreasing agricultural labor, the prices of farm labor are rising. The cost of farm labor has a direct relationship with the percentage of the total population of a country employed in agriculture, considering simple demand-supply economics, thereby affecting the agricultural tractors market. On average, developing economies have larger percentages of the population dependent on agriculture. However, the percentages have decreased over time as a large number of people are migrating to urban areas every year. According to the World Bank report, the world's rural population declined from 67% in 1960 to 45% in 2017.
As technologically assisted agriculture needs skilled laborers who are at an acute shortage of availability, farmers are adopting technologies such as autonomous tractors that can be productive, considering the current challenge. This scenario is one of the major factors that drive the market forward. According to the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, the percentage of agriculture workers in India is estimated to decline by 25.7% in 2050.
According to the World Bank, the area of arable land per person decreased from 0.20 hectares in 2011 to 0.19 hectares in 2016. Thus, declining arable land pushed growers to increase their productivity per hectare of land available to meet the growing demand for food. All these changes in the agriculture field are boosting the use of autonomous tractors, which helps farmers increase their productivity and return on investment.
North America Dominates the Market
North America accounted for the largest share of the market in 2019. The higher disposable incomes of farmers, lack of trained farm labor, and well-developed technology are the primary reasons for the future expansion of the North American autonomous tractors market. Since North America is a developed region, the sizes of farms are usually large, and customer loyalty is high. The demand for high-powered tractors in the United States is starting to gain traction. The United States is the largest market for autonomous tractors in the North American region.
The government's support for sustainable production techniques such as precision farming, involving the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), is boosting the demand for automated technologies. Therefore, this may result in the significant growth of the autonomous tractors market in the United States during the forecast period. Further, Canadian farmers are also showing interest in the adoption of autonomous tractors as they would save time and decrease operating costs. Therefore, this may indicate a positive sign for the growth of the market over the coming years.
The autonomous tractors market is consolidated. The major players in this market are focused on innovation and launching new products globally. Since the inception of the market is very recent, it is considered to be a consolidated market with a few players holding the majority of the shares in the market. The market is dominated by CNH, AGCO, Yanmar, Mahindra & Mahindra, John Deere, and Kubota Corporation. These companies have strong distribution networks at the global level. The key strategies adopted by these companies to sustain their market positions are new product developments and acquisitions.
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