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HOW BIG IS THE DRONE MARKET?

The drone industry is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.

As outlined in the “Advancing airborne autonomy” report (see below), drones “offer public and private organisations an opportunity to carry out tasks faster, safer, cheaper and with less impact on the environment than traditional methods.” “They will also contribute to improving domestic connectivity and levelling up by providing better services to and from remote or isolated communities”.


Using drones to transport medical packages like project Caelus is at the forefront of using this innovation to benefit citizens, and we will explore what’s happening in that space around the globe in follow-on articles.


The drone industry is a relatively nascent industry, and quantifying its market size can sometimes be a moving target. Having said that, below are selected well-known publications that can help give orders of magnitude on the drone market size and drone market opportunity:





GLOBAL MARKET SIZE

The global drone market as of 2022 was estimated at US$30.6 billion by Drone Industry Insights DRONEII, 2022. Market growth 2022-2030 was estimated at 7.8% per year (cagr).



DRONEII expects the European market to reach $13.4bn by 2030. This is in line with the EU market assessment that, “with the right framework in place, the drone services market in Europe could by 2030 reach a value of €14.5 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.3%, and create 145,000 jobs in the EU“.



THE UK OPPORTUNITY

In the UK, the approach to quantifying the market opportunity is to assess the impact in terms of UK GDP growth, cost savings, cleaner growth and skilled jobs. The opportunity created by drones is on one hand the development of a UK-based supply chain (manufacturing, hardware, software, data exploitation, operations, training, services…), and on the other hand it is the cost savings created by using drones to perform tasks faster, cheaper, and safer.


In its report “Skies without limits”, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP estimates that in the United Kingdom, the drone industry could contribute £45 billion to the UK economy by 2030, and create over 650 000 jobs.



KEY REGIONS

Asia is currently leading the global drone industry with a value of US$11.9 billion (Drone Industry Insights DRONEII, 2022). This is primarily due to the East Asian drone production market, specifically the Chinese market which is reported to have more than 12,000 drone enterprises and is expected to exceed US$15 billion (ChinaDaily, 2022). Following Asia is North American and Europe, valued at US$8.1 billion and US$6.8 billion respectively (Drone Industry Insights DRONEII, 2022).


SECTORS OF THE INDUSTRY

There are 3 primary sectors in the drone industry:

  • CONSUMER DRONES: they are used recreationally or for enjoyment purposes. It is a mass market of primarily small drones that you can buy in your high street shops.

  • MILITARY DRONES: they are used in the Defence sector, in all shapes and sizes. We all have recently witnessed how drones were used for example in the war fights in Ukraine.

  • COMMERCIAL DRONES: they are used by businesses and by public services, such as first responders, or fire and rescue.


Commercial drones are primarily used to map and survey, especially in industries where the teams can work in a difficult environment, for example by working alongside the roads or at height, such as Construction. Inspection and Photography & Film are other major applications of commercial drones used to cover large, hard-to-reach areas and for media respectively (DroneII, 2022).


As outlined in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s report “Advancing airborne autonomy”, there is a “significant potential across the economy to reduce costs and improve jobs by 2030, as businesses and the public sector adopt new drone services. Drones are already commonplace in certain sectors, such as offshore energy, and in others their potential is only just becoming apparent.”



Industry sectors and types of missions



Potential annual cost savings from drone adoption in 2030, in 2021 prices (Source: PwC Skies without Limits 2.0)



REFERENCES

Drone Industry Insights DRONEII, M. (2022). DRONEII Drone Market Report: Where the Drone Industry Will Grow the Fastest by 2030. [online] DRONELIFE. Available at: https://dronelife.com/2022/09/26/droneii-drone-market-report-where-the-drone-industry-will-grow-the-fastest-by-2030/#:~:text=According%20to%20DRONEII%27s%20Drone%20Market [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022].


PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (2022). Skies Without Limits. [online] Available at: https://www.pwc.co.uk/intelligent-digital/drones/skies-without-limits-2022.pdf [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022].


European Commission (2022). Press corner. [online] European Commission - European Commission. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_7076 [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].


Gross, R.J. (2021). World’s Best Drone Manufacturers in 2022- Top Leading Brands. [online] Propel RC. Available at: https://www.propelrc.com/best-drone-manufacturers/ [Accessed 19 Nov. 2022].


ChinaDaily (2022). China’s drone market set to hit $15b this year. [online] global.chinadaily.com.cn. Available at: https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202207/25/WS62de0c2da310fd2b29e6e341.html [Accessed 19 Nov. 2022].


The Drone Girl (2021). 2021 DJI market share takes a huge hit on commercial side. [online] The Drone Girl. Available at: https://www.thedronegirl.com/2021/09/14/2021-dji-market-share/ [Accessed 19 Nov. 2022].


Walter, C. (2022). 5 Major Drone Manufacturers Powering the Industry. [online] Consortiq. Available at: https://consortiq.com/uas-resources/5-major-drone-manufacturers-powering-the-industry [Accessed 19 Nov. 2022].



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