September 2017

Commercial Drones in 2022 – Our Predictions

The fledgling commercial UAV industry may be small today, but it is forecast for tremendous growth and transformation over the next five years. We created the below infographic based on our recent report to show some of our key predictions for the outlook for commercial drones in 2022.

You can also download the infographic here: Interact-Analysis-Drones-in-2022-Infographic

Industry revenues will reach $15bn by 2022, up from just $1.3bn in 2016. This includes revenues from hardware, software/analytics and drone services.

Rapidly increasing penetration rates into a huge number of commercial applications will drive a six-fold increase in drone shipments, surpassing 620,000 units in 2022. Only the trend of using drone service providers rather than purchasing hardware will temper this growth.

Demand will be dominated by two countries – the USA and China – and will account for more than 50% of industry revenue in 2022. The US accounted for nearly 1/3 of industry revenues in 2016 and is predicted to remain the largest end market for commercial UAVs up to 2022. It has very favourable conditions for growth due to recently relaxed and transparent regulations from the FAA and the large size of the end market opportunities in almost every vertical. China will increase its share of the global market over the next five years. The country shows massive potential for UAVs in agriculture, police and fire, and infrastructure verticals.

Low-cost drones (<$2,000) dominate the commercial market currently. But whilst they will account for 2/3 of shipments in 2022, they will only generate 13% of revenues as enterprises shift toward ‘industrial-grade’ products.

Although there will be negligible shipments this year, more than 12,000 fully autonomous drones will be shipped in 2022. These drones that don’t require any human intervention throughout the mission – will begin to be seen in volume in 2020. This is partly driven by developments in technology but mostly consumer awareness and legislative issues moving to a point where their use is acceptable.

DJI’s dominance of the consumer drone market is also very evident in the commercial sector. The company held a 53% share of the market last year – more than double the share of the next five largest suppliers combined. When you exclude “prosumer” applications, DJI’s share drops considerably, however.

All 15 application sectors we analysed are forecast for massive growth over the next five years. But whilst media & entertainment is the largest today, its growth will be far outpaced by the rest of the industry. We forecast it to grow at ‘just’ 16% on average each year up to 2022. Delivery and logistics will grow at a fast pace but will remain one of the smallest industry verticals for UAVs in 2022.

he Commercial drones / UAV Market in 2022 – Our Predictions

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