DRONEII on Drone Industry Projections


drone industry projections


DRONELIFE always looks forward to hearing what global drone market researchers DRONEII have been working on.  The firm are leading industry analysts: studying the forecasts, fleets, use cases, regional differences and challenges facing the UAV industry.  At this week’s INTERGEO GIS and mapping expo held in Essen, Germany, DRONEII CFO and Co-Founder Hendrik Bödecker presented on drone industry projections, recent survey results, and the biggest surprise in recent forecasts.  Read on to find out what the research says about jobs in the sector, investments, and the biggest surprise in recent drone industry projections.

The Good News: “The Hype is Over.  The Trust is Real.”

The Gartner Hype Cycle says that in a new industry, the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” is quickly followed by “The Trough of Disillusionment”: rising through the “Slope of Enlightenment” and finally, the “Plateau of Productivity.”  The drone industry has certainly gone through its share of unreasonable hype.  Now, the data clearly shows that investors believe the sector has real value to offer – along with significant growth potential.  In 2020, drone industry investment was $2,433 million USD: in 2021, that investment grew to a stunning $7,917 million USD.  That’s an indication, says Bödecker, that the industry has achieved the trust of stakeholders.

Where are the Drone Industry Jobs?

Many drone companies we’ve spoken with this year are looking for employees.  As the drone industry grows and the pandemic winds down, companies are ready to expand their workforce and their reach into new regions, new use cases, and new verticals.  What are the most needed professionals in the drone industry today?

“Software Engineers are first,” says Bödecker, “but Marketing and Sales is second on the list.”  Those are followed by Production staff, Hardware Engineers,  Operations, and Management staff.

The Biggest Suprise in Drone Industry Projections

Drone industry projections can range wildly depending upon the source, and how the data is organized: by fleet growth, investment, hardware, software, region, size or other categories.  DRONEII’s Industry Barometer tracks the dynamics of the drone market.  The Barometer is based on a survey of more than 900 respondents, and is based on expected and realized revenue figures.  (You can read more about the Drone Industry Barometer in DRONEII’s free whitepaper.)

2020 was a tough year for every sector, and the drone industry also slightly underperformed expectations: in 2020, the expectation was for growth of 6.3 on a scale of 1 -10; reality, or realized revenue, was only 6.0.  Survey participants, however, had high hopes for 2021.

That led to one of the biggest surprises of the Drone Industry Barometer: the greatest disparity between expectation and reality since the start of the research in 2018. “Projections were for 7.2 growth per year but ended up at 5.6,” says Bödecker, citing the continuing effects of COVID and other industry headwinds.

This year, companies are more conservative in their estimates: but possibly more realistic.  “Projections for 2022 are more muted: but projected growth is 6.3,” says Bödecker.

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