What region can claim ownership to the largest drone market in the world? It’s not the U.S.
While the U.S. is a huge market for drones, the largest drone market in the world by region goes to Asia. That’s according to an analysis by drone research firm Drone Industry Insights as part of their Drone Market Report 2020-2025.
While North America was generating slightly more revenue than Asia as of 2018, that has since changed as the Asian market has now taken over the North American market as the largest regional drone market in the world.
While much of the growth stem from China and Japan, there’s another country set to be a big contributor to growth: India.
“Having legalized drones in December 2018, India will be by far the fastest growing commercial drone market in the world, by 2025 becoming the third largest commercial drone market,” according to a forecast by Drone Industry Insights.
India’s headway in the drone industry includes everything from UTM (air traffic management for drones) to even drone food delivery (Swiggy, one of India’s largest online food delivery platforms, is planning to begin food deliveries via drone).
In July, Mumbai-based Sagar Defence Engineering Ltd. announced it would be partnering with U.K.-based UTM company Altitude Angel to conduct beyond visual line of sight drone tests. Sagar Defence was selected by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation to conduct trials around a range of scenarios including medical and cargo delivery, surveillance operations, survey & mapping, and search & rescue operations, that will help define India’s regulatory framework for drones.
Those trials will run between August and October 2020.
That said, the U.S. is still a major player in the drone industry. Combined revenue between the U.S. and China makes up over two thirds of the global drone market size. Though, most U.S. revenue comes from software or services companies, rather than hardware. While software companies like DroneDeploy and PrecisionHawk — and services like Wing (the drone delivery arm of the company formerly known as Google) and Zipline — have seen success, there are very few American drone manufacturers.
Interestingly, the U.S. is looking to stymie Asia’s growth in the drone market — with a focus on China in particular. Many private organizations and government organizations have banned drones made in China largely due to privacy concerns. The U.S. Army made waves in August 2017 when it temporarily banned its teams from using DJI drones because of cyber-security concerns — and many other major organizations followed suit (DJI is a Chinese company). The Trump administration is reportedly preparing an executive order to ban all federal departments and agencies from buying or using foreign-made drones.
Though here’s an interesting stat: Asia (China, in particular) may be developing the most drones, but the U.S. is building the most in terms of various types of drones.
The United States leads the way in terms of most number of unique drone models (the U.S. has developed 628 unique drone models). China, which is none for its major drone companies including DJI, PowerVision, Yuneec and Autel, ranks second but only accounts for half as many actual drones, having developed a total of 309 unique drone models.
Globally, the drone market size is expected to hit 42.8 billion USD by 2025.