With the forecast that in 2017, production and sales volumes of drones will have a substantial increase to 3 million, up by 39%, the global market revenue is predicted to be USD 6 billion (around CNY 41.2 billion), up by 34%.
The soaring demand for drones for private and commercial use contributes to its popularity regardless of the ban that private market cannot make contact with government regulatory departments. Overall drone (UAV) market is developing rapidly, yet private and commercial markets are distinct from each other in dynamics.
Drones in private market are mostly for entertainment, such as various kinds of photo-taking, selfies and so on, with short flights (normally shorter than 5km and 1h) and altitude limitation of 500m. Generally speaking, drones weigh less than 2kg and their prices are within USD 5,000 (about CNY 34 thousand). By contrast, commercial market is much smaller with a higher average price. With the perfection of relevant regulations in more countries, the market is gradually stabilized and companies of almost every industry buy drones for testing and deploying.
Commercial drones are generally featured with higher payload capacity and longer time of flight with sensors and flight controllers to ensure safety. Besides, commercial drones have various prices due to the fact that they generally specialize in certain fields like surveying and mapping, transportation and industrial inspection.
Agriculture is generally regarded as the first big commercial drone (UAV) market, however, agricultural economy is more sensitive toward cost as it focuses on stricter price, production volume and ROI(returns on investment), which means that agricultural drone (UAV) market will not develop as fast as other markets. CRI forecasts that agricultural drone (UAV) market will increase by 6.8% by 2020.
Industrial drone (UAV) market achieved great success in energy such as petroleum and natural gas, infrastructure and transportation field as laws and regulations had fewer impacts on market than expected. CRI forecasts that drones for detection will take 35% of the market by 2020. Drones for transportation begin to attract outside attentions, yet will not play an important role in the next few years for its rate of ROI is not proven in cost, operation and single customer delivery.
According to CRI, with the support from the Chinese government, the size of pro market will surpass that of commercial UAV mainly used for aerial photography.