It’s no secret that DJI is king when it comes to the drone industry. But the DJI kingdom has continued to expand — and it is showing no signs of slowing.
The Chinese drone manufacturer now has an estimated 74% market share, according to the 2018 Drone Market Sector Report by Skylogic Research. That’s slightly up from a 72% market share in 2017. But it’s a huge increase over just a couple years, when DJI had just a 50% market share in 2016, according to Skylogic Research’s 2016 version of the same report.
The 2018 Skylogic Research report was collected via an online survey of more than 2,500 respondents as part of a three-month project sponsored in part by DJI, DroneDeploy, DroneInsurance.com, and Trimble.
And the No. 2 brand by market share? Yuneec, which comes in at just 5%. Yuneec’s latest products include the $500 Mantis Q, which looks to be an intended competitor to the DJI Spark, and the Typhoon H Plus with Intel RealSense. Intel invested $60 million in Yuneec in 2015.
DJI’s market share is even higher when it comes to the $1,000–$1,999 price segment, typically referred to as the “prosumer” market. DJI, which makes drones including the Mavic Pro, has a 86% market share at that price point, up from 84% over last year.
But perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the compact, portably drones like the Mavic and Spark lines that people want the most. DJI’s most popular drone is the Phantom 4 Series, with a 29% share. The Mavic Pro Series has a 26% share.
And it’s not just the hardware where DJI dominates. When it comes to payloads, DJI’s Zenmuse RGB camera / sensor / gimbal combination now accounts for nearly a third (31%) of all purchases—a big increase from last year, when it represented only 4%. As far as software goes, DJI is the market-share leader in flight logging and operations, and automated mission planning.
The data comes out just a week after a former Silicon Valley darling, Airware, announced it was shutting down. The company attempted to make its own drone hardware at one point, but like many other businesses that have also burned through venture capital or are still struggling to stay afloat, realized it could not compete with the behemoth that is DJI.
Once promising competitors, GoPro laid off hundreds of employees in a few different layoff rounds, struggling to prove its drone was worthwhile after a recall due to reports that Karma drones were falling from the sky. Lily, a widely-hyped drone that never actually made it to market, called it quits completely, though was recently acquired by Mota and re-released as something not even close to its originally-marketed form.
DJI’s success has not been simply in churning out robust hardware at a rapid pace, but also establishing itself as a leader in government and policy conversations around geofencing, making micro-investments with its SkyFund and in strategic partnership investments with other established technology leaders such as Hasselblad.