Commercial drones sales to grow 84% to $481 million in 2016

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Commercial drones sales are expected to grow 84 percent to $481 million in 2016 from $261 million in 2015, said Juniper Research.

Drop in drone price and increase in use cases are the main growth drivers for the anticipated increase in drone sales this year, said the report.

The report said a low price point significantly reduced the barrier to entry in many sectors, with high performance models now available for less than $3,000. The reduction in drone price had in turn resulted in their commercial application within an array of new fields including mapping, inspection and monitoring.

The strongest growth in drone sale will happen within the agricultural sector — accounting for 48 percent of all commercial drone sales this year. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) save time and costs over other methods, such as walking fields on foot and using planes for fly-over filming. Furthermore, the ease of use of a UAV created for the sector allows for more regular crop surveying.

Demand for UAVs in the film and television sectors is soaring. Drones provide a much cheaper and more flexible alternative to the use of helicopters and other methods to capture footage for the film and TV industry, particularly for action sequences.

Privacy, safety and security concerns mean that the usage of drones for delivery purposes is likely to be severely constrained or even prohibited within built-up areas.

Research co-author Dr Windsor Holden said regulators would be extremely wary of allowing planned services such as Amazon Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing to be offered except as a means of delivering to isolated rural communities.

There was a danger that delivery drones could be hacked by terrorists, delivering explosives payload into areas where they would be capable of causing high levels of civilian casualties.

ABI Research says the size of the consumer drone market will be more than 90 million in 2025 against 4.9 million in 2014 with a CAGR of 30.4 percent over the same period. Consumer drone revenues in 2025 are forecast to reach $4.6 billion.

Toy / hobbyist drone shipments accounted for 30 percent of consumer UAV revenue in 2014, while the prosumer segment captured 69 percent. Toy / hobbyist UAV revenue will surpass prosumer UAV revenue beginning in 2017, and will account for more than two-thirds of the $4.6 billion consumer drone market in 2025.

Phil Solis, research director at ABI Research, said: “Growth in the consumer drone sector will remain strong, spurred by the creation of new use cases and the adoption of the technological advancements generated by well-funded market leaders such as DJI, 3DR, Parrot, and Yuneec, among others.”

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