The global vertical farming market size was valued at USD 2.51 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 21.3% over the forecast period. This is attributed to growing adoption of environment-friendly production of fruits and vegetables. Unprecedented growth of the global population has increased demand for urban agriculture. Vertical farming is the practice of producing food in a vertically stacked layer such as a used warehouse, skyscraper, or shipping container.
Organic foods are perceived as healthier, nutritious, safer, and more environmentally friendly. A critical factor that influences demand for organic food is the food purchasing behavior of consumers, which is essential for producers, policy makers, and suppliers to implement successful marketing strategies.
Obesity and heart diseases are the most prevalent health-related issues among consumers. Furthermore, growing depletion of ground water and changing climatic conditions have urged the traditional growers to adopt alternate farming methods. Rising concerns among consumers pertaining to health and the above-mentioned factors are likely to elevate the industry demand. However, high initial investments and limitations on the growth of various crops are some of the restraining factors in the market.
Unlike traditional cultivation, indoor cultivation can produce crops throughout the year, which results in increased productivity. Furthermore, indoor farming can protect crops from extreme weather conditions through the usage of techniques, such as the controlled environment agriculture technology, where the facilities use artificial environmental control, control of light, and fertigation.
Increasing demand for high-quality food, independent agriculture technique, and growing urbanization are some of the critical factors responsible for the vertical farming market growth. These factors have increased the requirement of food. Demand for the food is expected to witness significant growth with growing population by 2025. Adoption of the vertical cultivation technique allows the consumers to grow crops in a warehouse, or in a multi-storey building.
The climate control segment is expected to register a high CAGR over the projected period. Increasing adoption of hydroponic components by farmers to minimize the weight load and infrastructure needed to support the equipment is anticipated to drive the demand for hydroponic components.
Climate control is a kind of agriculture where plants are grown inside a greenhouse under the controlled environment that allows a grower to maintain and monitor proper supply of light, carbon dioxide, water, humidity, pH levels, and nutrients for the crop growth. The main aim of climate control farming is to facilitate protection and maintain optimum growth conditions throughout the development period of a crop. In many cases, climate-controlled farming is used to ensure that plants receive optimal nutrients for their growth.
Farming with the help of lighting technology ensures a consistent plant growth by reducing the heat stress on the root zone and providing uniform lighting. The use of LED lighting technology acts as a supplementary light source to the sun and ensures increased productivity with minimum power usage. Sensors enable the comprehensive monitoring of the external environment and crop condition. Various sensors such as nutrient sensor, humidity sensor, and light sensor are used to monitor the crop growth. Monitoring also enables notification of changes and alerts.
Automation in vertical farming is aiming at minimizing time to market, reducing distribution, production, and environment costs, and standardizing the high quality. IoT has become the mainstream technology that drives several industries such as transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture. The proliferation of IoT has revolutionized the agriculture industry.
The hydroponics segment dominated the market in 2018 and is expected to remain dominant over the forecast period. Hydroponic farming is a method of growing plants without soil, where the soil is replaced by a mineral solution inserted around the plant roots.
Additionally, the hydroponics method removes the risk of soil organisms causing diseases. Growing awareness among consumers regarding the effects of pesticides is expected to boost the demand for hydroponics. Moreover, the hydroponics method is popular due to low installation cost and ease of operation. Hydroponically-grown plants produce a greater yield than similar plants grown in soil because of proper control over the nutrients. In addition, plant roots are submerged under the chemical solution and checked periodically to ensure that appropriate chemical composition is maintained for growth.
The aquaponics segment is anticipated to gain a significant market share over the forecast period. Aquaponics is the integration of hydroponics and aquaculture, which eliminates the need for harmful chemicals for cultivation. Plants such as lettuce, chives, peppers, kale, mint, cucumbers, and peas are grown through aquaponics. The water used in the aquaponics systems contains fish waste that becomes nutrient-rich and increases the crop production time. This creates a sustainable natural system, which eliminates the need for chemicals to produce food.
The aeroponics segment is anticipated to witness considerable growth over the forecast period. This system is similar to hydroponics as neither method uses soil to grow plants. However, in aeroponics, there is no need for growing medium as roots of plants are hung in a dark chamber and sprayed with nutrient-rich solution periodically.
Some of the most commonly grown vegetables, herbs, and fruits across different regions include strawberry, lettuce, bell and chili peppers, tomato, cucumber, and leafy greens among others. One of the important factors behind growing any crop in vertical farming is to validate economic viability of that crop, which ensures that the company is making a large amount of money from its cultivation.
Similarly, the time taken for crops to grow fully is one of the criteria because some vegetables like lettuce and mint grow fast, whereas herbs and some fruiting crops take more time to grow but can have higher margins than many other plants. As a farmer, it is imperative to make sure that we can sell what we grow, and production cost should not be too high. In order to make this decision, the kind of crops also play a very vital role in the feasibility study of vertical farming. Lettuces have shown consistent demand globally that has enhanced its cultivation.
The shipping container segment dominated the industry in terms of revenue in 2018 and is expected remain dominant over the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the ability of the structure to help grow crops irrespective of the geographic location.
One of the primary benefits of container-based farming is that container farms are easy to transport, and one doesn’t require a large piece of land or a dedicated building to start cultivating. Moreover, the price of shipping containers decreases with increased competition because the cost of acquiring used containers is relatively less, which gives other companies an opportunity to enter the market space. However, low comparative output and antagonism between light, heat, and layout are some of the drawbacks of such kind of agriculture.
Factors such as growing technological advancements and increasing penetration of precision farming are anticipated to drive the shipping container segment over the forecast period. The building-based segment is widely accepted in Japan, China, and other Asian countries and it is the fastest-growing segment in terms of revenue owing to its growing acceptance in the region. Building-based farming helps in minimizing the cultivation cost and requires larger farming area than single farming land, hence ensures food security.
Shipping container-based farming uses 95% less water than the traditional cultivation with drip irrigation. Shipping containers are easy to modify, stackable, durable, and can be recycled and refurbished at a lower cost. Additionally, surplus availability of unused shipping containers across the globe also likely to influence the segment growth over the forecast period.
In terms of revenue, Asia Pacific dominated the industry in 2018 and is expected to remain dominant over the forecast period. Growing awareness regarding the importance of alternative farming, owing to less availability of fertile agricultural land and increasing population, is the key factor anticipated to spur the industry demand.
Europe is anticipated to witness significant growth over the projected period owing to growing expansion of genetically-modified crop technology. Furthermore, increasing adoption of nanotechnology and robotics for farming enhances the regional market demand. The use of nanotechnology helps in improving food packaging and enhancing disease and pest control.
The European environment agency has carried out several initiatives to build vertical farms for the purpose of overcoming challenges of continuous population growth and climate change as well as producing food in an environment-unfriendly way. This has resulted in a rise in demand for the market in the region.
Growing urban population and commercialization of indoor farming are anticipated to drive the demand in Africa. However, lack of financial resources to build modern vertical farms and limited access to water and land are expected to restrain the regional growth. To overcome such challenges, various models followed in the region include vertically stacked wooden crates and sack gardens.
A few of the major industry players are AeroFarms (U.S.); Illumitex, Inc. (U.S.); and American Hydroponics (U.S.). These players are involved in strategies such as partnerships, business expansions, new product developments, and contracts to expand their market share.
The industry players are investing in the R&D for the innovation of the products and enhancement of the existing products. Key players are focusing on the merger and acquisition to expand their geographical presence. The industry players are utilizing the improved database of the customer, products, and processes to achieve the transformation and are aiming to achieve a significant market share through product differentiation.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2017
2019 - 2025
Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2019 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and MEA
U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, France, Japan, China, India, and Brazil
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analysts working days)
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global vertical farming market report based on structure, offering, growing mechanism, and region:
Structure Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Offering Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Growing Mechanism Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Bell & Chili peppers
Leafy Greens (excluding lettuce)
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Middle East and Africa (MEA)
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