Insights from New Market Research on Drones Sales

We just released “Drones in the Channel: 2016 Market Report,” a research study examining drone sales and distribution channels in North America. It’s the first in-depth study of drone sales channels and reveals mixed distribution tactics as well as pinpoints market share of major UAV brands.

The report is a result of a three-month project sponsored by BZ Media. Incorporating qualitative research and including interviews with major drone manufacturers and drone distributors, the study also contains the results of a quantitative precision survey. It offers fresh insights on the major brands and the growing role that distribution and reseller businesses play in the sale of consumer and commercial drones. You can read the press release here.

Among the many insights we got from the research, these two are worth highlighting:

  1. Most drones costing more than $2,000 are purchased for professional use.
  2. DJI’s overall market share in North America is about 50 percent—not 70 percent as popularly described.

As I mentioned, part of the study was an online survey. That survey was promoted by media partner sUAS News. It garnered responses from 783 drone buyers, so the results have a confidence level of 95% for a population of five million.

The survey found that the majority (52 percent) of people who purchase drones (at all price points) do so for photo and video taking—either for hobby or for commercial purposes. But drilling down, our analysis found that 75 percent of drones costing more than $2,000 are bought for professional use. This includes operations for public entities (such as federal and local governments, police departments, universities, etc.) and civil operations (which includes commercial and private industry operators).

The survey also found that across all brands and all price points, DJI’s share of the North American market is 50.1 percent. The devil, of course, is in the detail. As you look at detailed price points, DJI’s share is both higher and lower. For example, we found that in the $1,000 to $7,499 price range, DJI’s share is about 67 percent, but under $1,000, it’s only about 21 percent.

The 44-page report is quite comprehensive. It contains 21 figures, 9 tables and provides answers to questions like:

  • What’s the U.S. market size for all drones and growth projections by segment (cost of drones, commercial activity, etc.)
  • What’s the most popular drone brands by price point?
  • What’s the leading brand’s market share?
  • Where are people buying (e.g., online or in a store)?
  • What matters most about the purchase (e.g., price, availability of accessories, or service)?
  • What was buyers’ intended drone use—for hobby or racing or photography purposes, or for their employer?

You can find out more about the report and how to get it here.

If you have questions about what’s in the report or would like to comment on it after reading it, write me [email protected].

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Colin Snow

Colin Snow is CEO and Founder of Skylogic Research, LLC (also known as Drone Analyst®), a research, content, and advisory services firm for the commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry. Colin is a 25 year technology industry veteran with a background in market research, enterprise software, electronics, digital imaging, and mobility. His experience includes aerial photography as well as making, programming, and piloting remote control aircraft. Colin holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University and is a member of all major UAS industry groups including: AUVSI, RCAPA, and AMA.