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April 22, 2022

Filings buzz in the tech sector: 25% decrease in robotics mentions in Q4 of 2021

We've analysed companies' annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of robotics within the filings of companies in the tech sector fell 25% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to robotics during 2021 was as frequent as in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

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When tech companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Robotics is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether robotics is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of tech companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned robotics at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 34% compared to 21% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to robotics.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the tech sector, Foxconn was the company which referred to robotics the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 66 robotics-related sentences in the Taiwan-based company’s filings – 0.6% of all sentences. Hitachi mentioned robotics the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company’s filings. Other top employers with high robotics mentions included China Mobile, NTT and Accenture.

Across all tech companies the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on robotics came from OKI. Of the document’s 1,195 sentences, 14 (1.2%) referred to robotics.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how important the issue is considered within the tech sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company’s ventures into robotics have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, tech companies based in Asia were most likely to mention robotics with 0.09% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Oceania mentioned robotics in just 0.01% of sentences.

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