In the mid-2010s, everyone seemed to have — or at least wanted to have — a drone. Major brands such as GoPro have produced their drones (GoPro’s Karma has been discontinued ever since) and can be found at retailers from Apple Store to Costco. Barbie even had a drone. But growth in 2019 is another storey.
According to Federal Aviation Administration data of August 2020, more than 1.1 million drone pilots in America currently own a combined 1,7 million drones. And 1.1 million of the 1,7 million drones registered belong to pilots of recreational drones.
It is a lot of drones for the still-new drone industry (in 2013, the first DJI Phantom was released). Yet for the consumer drone industry, this is a sobering figure: development is sluggish in 2019.
According to the new study entitling “Historical success of the American UAS Industry,” published today by Drone Analyst, the consumer drone fleet grew by just 6% in 2019. This is a decrease in the growth figure of 14 per cent in 2018.
Now at last DJI drones are getting way cheaper than before. In 2013, the original DJI Phantom was priced at $849, but it didn’t have a mirror. Now you can buy the Mavic Air 2 (of course, with a built-in camera) for under $800, or a Mavic Mini for under $400.
Wondering why the drone market is getting slower – even day by day drones are getting cheaper,affordable, easy to fly etc. One significant speculation is some pilots have expressed concern about where they can or can’t fly (and drones are banned where they could be flying in specific areas like national parks), licencing requirements back and forth and the potential for testing. Moreover, there are not so many options when it comes to buying drones because DJI has a market share of more than 70 percent and other once-promising drone producers, such as 3D Robotics, GoPro and Lily, all crashed.
The drone industry spent over $1.2 billion in 157 investment transactions, with major capital going to the supply firm Zipline, which was recently performing medical supplies for coronaviruses, Joby Aviation for human-carrying drones and PrecisionHawk for flight applications. And LAANC permits, a good indicator of commercial drone operations as required in the case of commercial pilots who want automated clearance to fly in some controlled airspace, are also at record highs.