‘Prosumer’ camera drones may be all the rage, but they’re not what’s fueling growth in the drone industry.
Two-thirds of all drones shipped in 2022 are expected to be priced under $2,000, but they will generate just 13% of the UAV industry’s revenues. That’s according to a September 2017 report from Interact Analysis, which estimates that more than 620,000 commercial drones will be shipped in 2022, a six-fold increase on 2016.
It’s a pattern that most drone companies are seeing: low-cost, consumer drones excel in sales but lag behind commercial drones in revenue.
Parrot’s drone sales were up 72% in the second-quarter of 2017, with commercial drones generating 11.7 million euros, totaling 33% of its revenue — that’s up 42% from the same quarter of 2016.
The company sited its fixed-wing drones as a major reason for the growth, along with products related to high-precision data.
The commercial drone market is expected to reach $15 billion by that year; it currently generates a fraction of that at about $1.3 billion in revenue.
The report’s authors suggest that “enterprises will really need to employ an industrial-grade UAV more specifically designed for the task in hand, with better safety features, the ability to operate in harsher conditions with high reliability and more advanced payloads.”
Companies like FlightWave Aerospace and Atlas Dynamics are capitalizing on that sentiment, introducing drones with massive flight times and commercial features like thermal imaging.
But other evidence suggests that ‘prosumer’ drones — like the ones made by DJI — may reign supreme not just among hobbyists, but for commercial use-cases to.
347 local law enforcement, fire and emergency responder agencies have started using drones, according to a report by the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. 80% of those were made by DJI, and of those, most were a DJI Phantom, one of the company’s lowest cost drones. Even the U.S. Army has used DJI drones.
There’s also a large segment of companies such as agriculture company Sentera, which are developing products to modify DJI drones for enterprise purposes.
What do you think? Is the future commercial-focused drones? Or will large companies ultimately use ready-to-fly products like the “prosumer” versions from DJI?