The 2018 consumer drone market is shaping up close to predictions. Sales have leveled off as many potential customers already have a camera drone which is functional enough to serve their needs. Our informal estimates still have this market (The $500-$2000 consumer camera drone mkt.) at these levels:
80% of sales (dollars spent) = DJI
5% each for Parrot, Yuneec and Autel (slices may vary, but at best the 3 total 15%)
The 3 companies that are in second place are looking to grab a bit more of a market share or at least retain what they already have. To this end, Parrot and Autel have released new models somewhat similar (compact and light) to the DJI Mavic Series. Yuneec is sticking with more expensive machines, some of which are out of the mass consumer price range. These are basically their Typhoon H models with a larger camera sensor and/or modified software. The lack of any mid-size or portable gimbal-based model is a serious ding for Yuneec – and makes it very likely that their sales will lag the other players who seem to be producing what most consumers desire.
Parrot and Autel have both produced brand new models – straight from the drawing board. The Autel unit is named “Evo” while the Parrot entry is christened “Anafi”. As mentioned above, both are compact and feature 4K cameras, albeit with smaller (smartphone sized) camera sensors.
Features and Pricing
From a pure feature perspective, neither of these new compacts rise to the level…or above…that of the DJI Mavic series. For example, neither features advanced obstacle avoidance. Instead, these manufacturers have stressed other advantages. For example, the Parrot Anafi is being sold for a list price of $699, which is $100 or mor under the competition (Mavic Air). It is also very light in weight and claims some decent “follow me” capabilities (to be determined by actual user experience). Another Anafi feature is the ability of the camera to point directly up – allowing for such capabilities as inspection of the underside of various objects.
The Anafi is shipping now….or very soon. You can order them at Amazon at this link: https://amzn.to/2Kzbo1Q
The Autel Evo is being offered at $999. It claims a much longer range than the Parrot model and is probably more comparable to the DJI Mavic Pro. Autel has gained a small following among those who want a reliable camera drone, but for whatever reason don’t want to buy DJI equipment.
Auto Evo Folded and Unfolded
Autel Evo can be purchased at Amazon at this link: https://amzn.to/2KvIboE
DJI – “See the Bigger Picture” – New Drone or Drones rumored
As per our article below, DJI has annouced a Launch Event on July 18 and the rumor mill claims the new model may be a “Mavic 2 Pro” – a compact model with a larger sensor. Others have claimed a Phantom 5 or equivalent, which would be a mid-sized model with interchangeable lenses.
Our Advice – For other than the most impatient pilot, it would pay to wait until August or September to make a choice as to an upgraded model. This will allow you to read more unbiased reviews on the Parrot and Autel models as well as see what DJI has up their sleeve.
The serious pilot and prosumer photog probably already has equipment which is “good enough”. However, new drone buyers are going to get more for their money and the longer term pilots will also have more choice when they decide to upgrade or crash/lose their existing models.