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Category: Distribution and Materials Handling

Supply Chain News: Just how Many Warehouses across the Globe are There?



163,000 more than 50,000 Square Feet, Dominated by the US and China

Aug. 16, 2022


SCDigest Editorial Staff

How many warehouses of at least 50,000 square feet are there globally?

Supply Chain Digest Says...

We believe the chart says countries with high labor costs tend to automate more.

What do you say?

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About 163,000, according to a new report from Interact Analysis, a research firm that maintains a database of warehouse locations and key attributes of each site.

Interactive Analysis expects that number to grow rapidly to 214,000 in 2027, a gain of 31% in total, but a relatively modest average annual growth of 4.6%.

The report also says 45% of the warehouse building stock is currently located in China or the US.

The researchers also predict that 25% of warehouse space will be used for on-line fulfillment by 2027. Currently, 11% of warehousing facilities, and 18% of square footage, are efulfillment focused.

Those fulfillment centers will support ecommerce for retailers as well as consumer goods companies moving to direct-to-consumer market strategies.

In a summary of the report, Rueben Scriven, senior analyst at Interact Analysis, says that there is tight relationship between warehouse automation and labor costs – which shouldn’t be a surprise.

“We’ve worked this out mathematically by calculating the average labor cost per square foot for an individual country and total investment per country in warehouse automation solutions,” Scriven says, adding that “When we plot average labor spend an average automation spend for individual countries on a graph, we get a perfect linear relationship – a straight line.” See graphic below.

(See More Below)





Scriven adds that “Basically, the cheaper the labor cost is, the higher the automation spend. This may seem obvious, but we were surprised how tight the correlation is.”


SCDigest notes it is not at all obvious - we believe the chart says countries with high labor costs tend to automate more. Perhaps the quote is simply a mistake.

Interact Analysis sells access to the database.

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