With global market revenue expected to increase 34 per cent to reach more than $6 billion in 2017 and set to grow more than $11.2 billion by 2020, almost three million personal and commercial drones will be shipped in 2017, market research firm Gartner said on Thursday.
Personal drones will continue to increase in popularity as an affordable extension of consumers’ smartphones for taking photographs and selfies and for other entertainment options.
They can fly a short distance and time, typically no more than 5,000 metres and for one hour, with flight height constrained to within 500 metres.
“The commercial and personal drone markets are increasingly overlapping, as lower-priced personal devices are being used for commercial ventures,” said Gerald Van Hoy, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.
The market for commercial drones is much smaller, with a significantly higher average selling price in comparison with personal drones.
Commercial drones normally have a higher payload, longer flight times, and redundant sensors and flight controllers to make them safer. They are more specialised to a function, such as mapping, delivery or industrial inspection, so prices vary according to these requirements.
Agriculture was considered to be the first big commercial drone market, but pricing and economic dynamics around tighter yields and returns on investment mean that the commercial agricultural drone market is not growing at the pace of other commercial drone markets.
Gartner predicts that through 2020, the high cost sensitivity of the agriculture market will limit drone adoption to seven per cent of commercial market growth.
“Delivery drones will be mired in logistical issues like the time needed to return a drone to its origin point after delivery, and will amount to less than one per cent of the commercial market by 2020,” added Hoy.