Don’t Expect Delivery Drones Anytime Soon

10 February 2017

While drone adoption is growing quickly for personal and professional use, delivery drones are expected to not be a major factor in the market for the next several years, according to a new report from Gartner.

Delivery drones are part of what Gartner classifies as commercial drones that have a higher price tag than personal drones but have the ability to carry a higher payload and have been tested to deliver goods or materials to residents or businesses.

Gartner forecasts the overall revenue of personal and commercial drones will rise 34.4 percent to $6 million this year. Source: Gartner  Gartner forecasts the overall revenue of personal and commercial drones will rise 34.4 percent to $6 million this year. Source: Gartner “Delivery drones will be mired in logistical issues like the time needed to return a drone to its origin point after delivery, and will amount to less than 1 percent of the commercial market by 2020,” says Gerald Van Hoy, senior research analyst at Gartner. “We expect that delivery drones will begin finding a niche in business-to-business applications first, particularly for internal services within one company where logistics will not be such a big factor.”

Gartner forecasts that while the commercial market will generate more revenue than the personal market, there will only be about 174,100 units of commercial drones shipped in 2017, compared to 2.8 million personal drones. Because commercial drones have higher average selling prices (ASPs), it will outpace the revenue of personal drones but will remain a much smaller market.

Overall, Gartner’s drone market forecast calls for an increase in revenue of 34 percent to reach more than $6 million in 2017. The better news is that the drone market will grow substantially in the coming years to reach $11.2 billion by 2020.

“The commercial and personal drone markets are increasingly overlapping, as lower-priced personal devices are being used for commercial ventures,” says Van Hoy. “Personal drone vendors are now aggressively trying to position themselves in the commercial market. Recent technological advances blur the lines, allowing personal drones to be used in many special-purpose applications such as surveillance, 3-D mapping and modeling.”

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