Growth in the US market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones will average 10% annually through 2020, reaching $4.4 billion. Demand will be fueled by robust increases in consumer and commercial sales, supported by innovations that are making drones easier to fly, reduced cost of key subsystems, and new FAA regulations that make it less cumbersome for businesses to operate drones.
This report segments the UAV industry by product, method of vehicle lift, and market. Data is presented in dollars. Drone demand and the number of drones in use are also provided in units for each of the major markets, and for drone demand by major vehicle type.
• Payloads and parts
• Ground stations and controls
Vehicles will remain the largest of these in 2019, accounting for 68% of the dollar total, although demand for payloads will climb at a faster pace.
The methods of vehicle lift are:
• Fixed wing
• Rotorcraft (or rotary wing)
• Hybrid and other (principally lighter-than-air)
Fixed wing aircraft accounted for 77% of the dollar sales in 2015. However, quadcopters and other rotorcraft dominate demand in unit terms because of their popularity in consumer and commercial markets.
The three major markets are:
• Government (military, and other federal, state, and local)
The military was by far the largest market for drones in 2015 in dollar terms, accounting for 73% of demand. In unit terms, however, the consumer market dominates. Although it is currently small, the commercial market for drones will expand the fastest through 2019, because of the operating efficiencies and cost savings that UAVs can provide.
More than 100 drone manufacturers are active in the US market. Notable producers include AeroVironment, Boeing, General Atomics, Kratos Defense & Security Systems, Northrop Grumman, Parrot, SZ DJI Technology, Textron, and Yuneec International.