Commercial drone market to hit 2.91 million units by 2023, says Frost & Sullivan


Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Commercial UAS Market Outlook, 2020, finds that the industry is transitioning from a nascent to a growth stage. With the surge in demand for commercial drones by the professional segment, unit shipment is estimated to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5%, reaching 2.91 million units by 2023 from 2.44 million units in 2019. By 2023, North America will remain the largest market for commercial UAS with a total of 32.3% unit demand, followed by APAC and Europe at 29.1% and 23.3%, respectively.

“Unit growth is driven by increasing regulatory support for commercial drone use in the APAC region, especially India,” said Michael Blades, Aerospace, Defense, and Security Vice President at Frost & Sullivan. “There is also a significant increase in demand for professional segment drones to conduct crop spraying in China and other countries in APAC. Drone services companies tend to focus on specific verticals because a ‘one-size-fits-all’ business model does not work. Further, as companies gain experience through operations, those that can best innovate to meet specific end-user needs will prosper.”

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) for both autonomous flight and data processing, as well as platforms that have unique capabilities such as long endurance flights and conducting indoor/confined spaces inspections, are key trends inflating market growth.

Vendors should take a close look at unlocking the following opportunities:

  • India’s move to lift a commercial drone ban: Vendors should penetrate this lucrative market by providing hardware, software, and other relevant services.

  • Sensor/data fusion: UAS platform providers should work with sensor providers and software developers to integrate sensor/data fusion capabilities into their products, ensuring accuracy.

  • New drone platforms: Drone control software providers will emerge to develop solutions that can easily support these innovative platforms.

  • Repair and maintenance: As enterprise adoption continues and more businesses invest in high-value drone platforms and subsystems, there will be an increasing need to repair this equipment. Vendors involved in this segment can tap into this opportunity by partnering with hardware manufacturers.

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