The commercial drone market is changing and growing at a rapid pace. Here are the top 10 statistics, followed by the predictions for future trends regarding the commercial drone sector that could impact ecommerce sales in 2019.
1. Commercial Drone Market to Grow to $13 Billion by 2025
Stastica reports that by 2025, the market for commercial drones will be $13 billion per year. By 2020, global R&D investment in drone technology is projected to be $4 billion annually.
2. Commercial Market Dynamics
TopTal reports that PWC predicts the commercial drone market to eventually reach $127 billion globally. Commercial drone usage and deployment will continue to expand in the sectors of agriculture, insurance, news reporting, mining, surveying, and real estate sales.
The industrial drone usage in the US and Europe will be about $50 billion by 2050, with an estimated one million commercial drones flying on a regular fleet schedule for value-added data collection services such as monitoring weather conditions, oil & gas pipes, chemical plants, and other infrastructure systems.
3. Amazon Plans to Deploy 450,000 Drones by 2020
Stastica reports that Amazon has big plans for its new service called Amazon Prime Air. Amazon wants to deploy nearly half a million delivery drones by 2020. Test flights are already being conducted by Amazon in the US and in the UK.
4. Commercial Drone Companies Have Small Fleets
The 2018 Drone Market Sector Report by Skylogic, reports that even though hundreds of thousands of commercial drones have sold, the average commercial drone company only owns two. Commercial drone pilots fly, on average, two paying jobs per month for an average flight time of three hours each.
One potential explanation of this low-level of commercial drone activity is the ability of consumer drones to perform nearly as well as commercial drones. In the US, getting paid to fly a drone for a project is a commercial use that requires getting a pilot’s license.
However, a business owner can fly a hobby drone without paying someone else to fly it. This flying may not need a license if the drone weighs less than 55 lbs. This is one way that “hobby” drones are used by business owners.
5. DJI Dominates the Global Commercial Drone Market
DJI has 74% of the global market for commercial drones.
It sells many different models of drones at different price points from low-cost entry-level models to top-of-the-line commercials models. There are dozens of other drone companies fighting over smaller pieces of the remaining 26% market share.
6. Investment in Commercial Drones is Higher
The amount spent on a professional-quality commercial drone is going up. One-third of the commercial drones sold in 2018 cost over $2,000. This is a higher price than the year before.
7. Commercial Drone Sales Increase
NPD reports that over half of drone sales are for drones priced above $500. Since 2017, drone sales are up 33 percent. The most popular models of commercial drones sell for between $500 and $999.
Since 2017, sales of drones in this price range more than doubled, up 155 percent compared to 2016.
8. Buying Trends
Drone buyers are willing to pay more for drones with better camera quality, such as drones that have 4K quality for video capture. Sales of drones with ultra-high-definition (UHD) video capabilities are doubling each year.
Another desired feature is having more onboard memory storage capacity for photos and videos. Buyers will pay more for drones that are more portable. Drones that can fold up and/or collapse down and fit into a compact carrying case, to easily take along, are selling well.
9. Hardware Prices Will Come Down, Value-Added Services Will Be Profitable
The competition from hardware manufacturers will drive the drone prices down. Profits will be achieved by companies that provide value-added services.
These services will represent about half the gross revenues of the total market and capture the majority of the profits.
10. Investors are Funding Drone Startup Companies
TopTal reports that since 2012 venture capitalists (VCs) invested $1.5 billion in drone startup companies. Investments are concentrated in the US, Israel, and China. In 2018, deals were made to fund 122 companies representing $506 million in startup investments.
Companies working on autonomous solutions, analytical software, and business intelligence systems are capturing the most investment money.
VCs interested in this sector include Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures, First Round, NEA, and Social Capital. Corporate investors that have made significant commitments to this sector, include Google Ventures, Intel Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.
M&A deals with major corporations will be a likely path to use as an exit strategy for successful startups that gain market traction.
Drone technology is advancing at amazing speeds. With the growth of the commercial drone industry continuing to skyrocket, ecommerce players like Amazon will continue to play a big role in delivering these machines.