In most industries it’s fair to assume that products get cheaper, not more expensive, with time.
But with drones, that’s actually not the case.
The commercial market is slowly shifting to using more expensive drone aircraft, according to the 2018 Drone Market Sector Report by Skylogic Research, which was released on Tuesday. One-third of purchases in the last 12 months were for aircraft costing over $2,000. That’s up from last year.
Just over 20% of drones purchased in 2017 cost more than $2,000, vs. 2018, when 32% of drones purchased cost more than $2,000.
And before you say that the reason is simply because people just aren’t buying cheap toy drones anymore (that hype craze has mostly passed), Skylogic delved deeper. According to Skylogic’s analysis, the weighted average price of drones costing more than $500 (which make up 88% of all drone purchases) is $1,718. That’s a $174 increase over last year’s weighted average price of $1,544.
Of course, most of these drones being sold are made by Chinese drone manufacturer DJI. The Drone Girl released data earlier this week from the same Skylogic report revealing that DJI now has a 74% market share, up from 72% in 2017 and just 50% market share in 2016.
AS DJI matures as a company, it isn’t simply making the same drones and selling them at lower price points to move more inventory. Instead, it is making better, more advanced drones every year. Particularly in 2018, it has innovated with different payloads and sensors. When it comes to payloads, DJI’s Zenmuse RGB camera / sensor / gimbal combination now accounts for nearly a third (31%) of all purchases. DJI in August launched its Mavic 2 Pro, which has a three-axis gimbal with a Hasselblad camera and 1-inch CMOS sensor and F\2.8 EQV 28mm lens, capable of capturing 4K video and 12MP images. (DJI acquired a stake in Hasselblad at the end of 2015.)
Of course, the commercial market for drones is growing relative to the hobby market. 73% of all drones weighing over 250 grams in 2018 were purchased for professional purposes, up 5% from last year, when it stood at 68%, according to Skylogic’s report.