- Insider Intelligence predicts total global shipments to reach 2.4 million in 2023 – increasing at a 66.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
- Here are some pertinent drone industry applications and market statistics.
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The Rise of the Drone Industry
For years, the drone market was in a nascent phase and had yet to break into the mainstream. Then, in 2016, drone industry growth took flight when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted hundreds of new exemptions for companies to operate drones in the U.S. through FAA Part 107.
These exemptions included several new use cases in multiple industries, such as insurance, construction, and agriculture — each of which demonstrates the broad range of commercial drone applications.
The FAA helped push commercial drone market growth forward by formulating a regulatory framework with its consumer drone registry. Now, drone manufacturers and tech suppliers are doing all they can to capitalize on this and turn drones into a full-fledged industry.
Drone Market Stats & Sales
There’s no arguing the spike in drone industry growth that has occurred in the last few years – the drone services market size is expected to grow to $63.6 billion by 2025, and Insider Intelligence predicts consumer drone shipments will hit 29 million by 2021.
Sales of US consumer drones to dealers surpassed $1.25 billion in 2020, according to Statista. Goldman Sachs forecasts the total drone market size to be worth $100 billion—supported by this growing demand for drones from the commercial and government sectors.
Drone Market Trends and Forecasts
Drones for the enterprise hold the most potential in the broader drone market. Insider Intelligence defines enterprise drones as all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) sold directly to a business for use in its operations.
Under that criterion, Insider Intelligence predicts total global shipments to reach 2.4 million in 2023 – increasing at a 66.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Drone growth will occur across five main segments of the enterprise industry: Agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, media and telecommunications, and law enforcement.
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Drones in agriculture
The UN projects that the world’s population will reach a massive 9.7 billion by 2050, causing agricultural consumption to rise 69% between 2010 and 2050. And considering most of the farmers and agriculture companies using drones are big-ag-owned farms that manage thousands of acres of land, the potential for drone growth in agriculture is extensive.
Popular applications for drones in agriculture include crop and livestock monitoring, irrigation management, and fertilization – DroneFly estimates that drones can spray fertilizer 40 to 60 times faster than doing so by hand.
Drones in construction and mining
Drone use in construction and mining could eventually become a $28.3 billion global market, according to PwC. Businesses within these industries are leveraging drones to more easily adhere to the extensive laws and regulations surrounding worker safety.
US government laws require construction companies to survey their sites on a regular basis to ensure they’re safe for workers. This process can take from 10 hours to a few days – but with drone technology, inspections can be completed in a quick 15 minutes.
Drones in insurance
It’s estimated that the average global annual cost of insurance claims from natural disasters has increased eight-fold since 1970. Because of this, insurance firms will likely leverage drone technology to provide faster and more accurate property assessments.
Enterprise drones can get to hard-to-reach locations immediately after a disaster hits. From there, they can capture precise images and videos of damage that can be transmitted back to mobile devices for assessment in real time. Ultimately, drones can help claims adjusters process property significantly faster than doing so manually.
Drones in law enforcement
Drones are currently used by police forces for a variety of situations including surveilling expansive open areas, negotiating hostage situations, pursuing armed suspects, and investigating bomb threats.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are an innovative, affordable alternative to helicopters, which can be very costly and aren’t always readily available. Most importantly, they allow police to navigate potentially dangerous situations while ensuring the safety of their officers.
Drone Industry Outlook
While enterprise is the fastest growing drone market, more inexpensive drones are becoming increasingly popular for recreational use as well. Additionally, flaring competition among drone providers is pushing down costs for these types of consumer drones – particularly among higher-end models that can shoot photos and live stream video.
For example, in 2019 Parrot launched the Anafi Thermal in response to DJI’s 2018 Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual – but for $700 cheaper. Both devices are portable thermal drones that incorporate FLIR’s Lepton 3.5 miniature thermal imaging unit. And while the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual is a better product overall – offering a longer flight time and nearly double the range – Parrot’s lighter product and camera with zoom capability may be enough for consumers who would rather not spend $2,699.