Across the EU, 7% of enterprises employing at least 10 people used industrial or service robots in 2018, but the figure is just 3% in four eastern member states, Eurostat data shows.
Faced with a growing labour shortage, companies from Central and Eastern Europe outstripped those in other world regions in the pace of investments into industrial robots, but the data from Eurostat shows that in absolute terms they still lag behind their peers from Western Europe.
Across the EU, The largest shares of enterprises using industrial or service robots were recorded in Spain (11%), Denmark and Finland (both 10%), and Italy (9%). At the other extreme, just 1% of companies in Cyprus used robots, and the share was only 3% in Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania.
Large enterprises have been quicker to invest into robots, with 25% of enterprises employing 250 or more people using robots, compared to 12% of medium sized of enterprises employing 50 to 249 people and 5% of small enterprises employing 10 to 49 people.
According to Eurostat, industrial robots (5%) were more widely used than service robots (2%), with 16% of manufacturing companies using industrial robots, compared to just 4% of firms each in the manufacturing and retail sectors that used service robots.
Enterprises use service robots mainly for warehouse management systems (44% of enterprises that used service robots), followed by transportation of people or goods (22%), cleaning or waste disposal tasks, as well as assembly works (21% each), according to the Eurostat data.