Drone Market Size and Industry Stats
Updated: October 12,2022
It's no secret that drones are becoming more and more popular. But many people don't know just how big the drone market is. So, what's driving this growth?
There are a number of factors involved, including advancing drone technology and more favorable regulations, both of which are paving the way for the commercial use of drones while also making them more accessible to those who wish to use them recreationally.
Keep your eyes peeled - the drone market size will only increase, and here are some facts you might want to know about this growing market.
Drone Industry Future
Until recently, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, often known as drones, was limited to the government and drone enthusiasts. Then, in 2016, regulatory revisions by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States allowed companies to operate drones for commercial purposes.
The new drone regulations are known in the US as FAA Part 107. Many other countries adopted similar regulations around the same time. This is making it easier for businesses to use drones, resulting in a boom in the commercial drone market.
Regulations aren’t the only thing impacting this significant growth. It’s also being driven by a number of factors, such as:
- Advancing drone technology: Drones are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with features like longer flight times and better cameras. This makes them more useful for a variety of commercial applications.
- Growing market awareness: As the drone industry grows, so does our understanding of its potential. This is leading more businesses to explore how drones can be used to improve their operations. That said, the commercial drone market is expected to explode in the next few years.
1. The worldwide drone market size reached $26.3 billion in 2021.
The market reached $26.3 billion in 2021, it’s expected to reach $30.6 billion by 2022, and some estimates say it will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% to $55.8 billion by 2030. It should be noted that the commercial and recreational drone sectors are both included in the drone market.
2. In 2020, the US was the largest market for drones at $8 billion.
With all of the technical advancements, it's no wonder that the US makes up the largest portion of the global drone market. In 2020, it accounted for roughly half of the global drone market at $8 billion.
At the same time, Asia-Pacific has the fastest growing market. This region's market size was $4 billion in 2020, but it is expected to keep growing, and projections estimate that it will match the US market size by 2030.
3. The commercial drone market size is expected to reach $8.15 billion by the end of 2022.
(Fortune Business Insights)
The commercial drone market is growing rapidly. The worldwide market for commercial drones, which was valued at $6.51 billion in 2021, is anticipated to increase by 28.58% CAGR to reach $47.38 billion in 2029.
This rapid growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing use of drones for commercial applications (such as aerial photography, mapping, surveying, and delivery), the declining cost of drone technology, and the loosening of regulations governing the use of drones in many countries.
4. Commercial drones are most often used for filming and photography.
Currently, filming and photography are the most popular applications for commercial drones. Drone photography allows for the capture of breathtaking images and videos that would otherwise require expensive specialized equipment and a helicopter.
The second largest use is in mapping and surveying. This application is growing rapidly as drones are able to capture data more efficiently and accurately than what’s possible with traditional methods. On top of that, drones are smaller and can be sent to potentially unsafe areas without endangering anyone’s well-being.
Agriculture currently ranks third, but it is expected to see significant commercial drone sales and more widespread use as drones become more sophisticated and capable of performing complex tasks such as crop mapping, spraying, and fertilizer distribution.
5. China is a leading country in drone market revenue at $1.27 billion.
The revenue of the drone market in China amounted to about $1.27 billion in 2022. In comparison, the United States generated just over $1.24 billion in revenue for the same period.
France follows them with $0.15 billion, Germany with $0.12 billion, the United Kingdom with $0.11 billion, and Australia with $0.08 billion. That said, it’s obvious just how big a part the two leading countries play in this growing market.
6. In 2021, the value of drone investments doubled for the second year in a row, reaching $7 billion.
The value of investment deals in the drone industry reached $7 billion in 2021. Compared to 2020, when the sector earned $2.4 billion, we can observe that investments almost tripled. This is despite the effects of the pandemic, which decreased venture capital funding across all sectors.
The lion's share of the investments ($5 billion) went to companies working on drone hardware, drone software development companies received around $640 million in investments, and counter-drone investment decreased compared to the previous year.
A significant rise in investments was seen in the drone service industry associated with drone deliveries. Drone deliveries are something Amazon has been promising for years now, and maybe we won't have to wait much longer to see them in practice.
7. In 2021, the global military drone market size was valued at $11.6 billion.
(Allied Market Research)
It’s no surprise that the military pioneered the use of drones. The military drone market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% from 2022 to 2031, when it will reach $34.3 billion. The North American region currently dominates the military drone market and is expected to continue doing so throughout the forecast period.
One of the primary factors driving the military drone market’s size growth is the increased use of drones in warfare. Unmanned aerial vehicles can stay in the air for long periods of time and are equipped with high-resolution cameras and other sensors that make them ideal for surveillance missions, but they are also capable of carrying various other offensive and support roles.
8. In the United States, in 2022, recreational drones outnumbered commercial drones by 213,000 units.
While the commercial drone industry has a bright future, we aren’t there quite yet. The majority of unmanned aerial vehicles are still used for recreational purposes. In the US, there are over 531,000 registered recreational drones, compared to 318,000 commercial ones.
FAA rules require all drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) to be registered. So, the real number of recreational drone users is much higher because some of the best beginner-friendly drones weigh less than the regulation requirements.
However, the global number of commercial drones is expected to grow faster than the number of recreational drones as businesses start utilizing them more extensively.
9. The number of drone-related jobs has increased by 11% since 2018.
The total number of drone-related job postings in the US has increased by 11% from 2018 to 2022. Most of the new drone-related jobs are in the fields of hardware manufacturing (46%) and drone service companies (37%).
Moreover, there is also an increase in demand for drone operators, software engineers, and salespeople. The rise in the number of job postings is primarily due to the increasing use of drones in commercial applications such as delivery, surveying, mapping, and inspection.
These are only a few examples that show how fast the drone industry is growing. We can expect the number to rise as the commercial drone market size increases.
The drone industry is growing rapidly, and there are many opportunities for those who want to get involved. Whether you’re interested in working with drones or investing in the industry, there are many ways to get started.
Drones are surprisingly easy to use, and the controls are similar to what you’d see in a video game controller. That said, if you’re a gamer who is accustomed to using controllers, regardless of which side of the “PC vs. consoles” debate you fall on, you won’t have much trouble getting used to drone controls.
Moreover, we wouldn't be shocked if the next generation of commercial and recreational drones featured augmented reality technology that could provide an even more immersive experience and more accurate information.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the moment, drone enthusiasts and hobbyists are the primary target market for the drone industry. However, with the rise of commercial drones, we can expect the target market to shift to businesses and organizations that can utilize drones in their operations.
This is a difficult question to answer because there is no central organization that tracks drone sales. However, we know that five million units of consumer drones were shipped in 2020, and the number is expected to increase to 7.1 million by 2025.
The US drone market size was $8 billion in 2020. With the rise of commercial drones and the subsequent commercial drone market growth, we can expect the overall market size to double by 2025.
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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.