The Drone Report – 2017 #1
Introduction – this article will bring the reader up-to-date (mid-2017) in terms of most facets of the consumer drone (multirotor) business. Please consider it an “Executive Summary” and excuse the lack of detail on each of the many subjects involved. Note – this is also slanted toward the N. American Market.
Drone Hardware – Software – Services – Add-ons
Hardware Overview – 2017 is shaping up very differently than previous years. This is due, in part, to the “winning” of the Consumer Drone Wars by industry leader DJI. At this point we can dispense with the idea that other companies are going to hit the market with competitive products in most of DJI’s price ranges. Here are the big stories involving Hardware (drones) within the civilian consumer camera drone market.
Consumer Models ( <$2,000 ) – Supply has outpaced demand. Consumers are excited about upper-end models such as the DJI Mavic Pro and the (larger sensor) Phantom 4 Professional. Those who want other models have at least a a dozen to choose from – an example of the largest sellers on Amazon is at this link.
With the FAA now allowing commercial work, drone makers are starting to produce models designed for industrial or higher end commercial use. Models include the DJI Inspire 2 and the new DJI Matrice M200 series. Yuneec has announced beefed up models of their existing hexacopters which are also designed for heavier-duty use.
In terms of corporations which are succeeding in the business, the list is slim – here is our short take on the state of the major players:
DJI – Prospering – 2017 sales will likely double those of 2016, driven by the Mavic Pro which could sell a million+ units.
Parrot – Layoffs, sharp decline in sales, floundering
Yuneec – Layoffs reported – Treading Water – not gaining the market share they had hoped.
Autel Robotics – Layofsf reported – Reasonable sales volume but with high costs is unlikely to be able to keep up with the current speed of innovation in consumer Drones.
GoPro Karma (Failure to launch – unlikely to be news in the 2017 market). More and more layoffs reported.
As we mentioned in an earlier article, buyers seem willing to spend more on camera drones than in 2015/2016, but they want to get something very advanced (larger sensors, computer vision, portability, etc.) for their money. At the lower end, this means booming sales for models such as the DJI Mavic Pro (small size/weight) and the Phantom 4 Pro (larger sensor). [Read more…]