Commercial drone use will surpass the consumer drone market in 2024, becoming the largest segment of the civil market, according to the latest UAV market forecast by the Teal Group. It will grow eightfold over the decade to reach USD7.3 billion in 2027, says the company.
“The growing promise of the civil market is attracting the world’s leading technology companies, driving ever faster development of systems and business applications,” said Philip Finnegan, Teal Group’s director of corporate analysis and author of the study. “As potential corporate clients move from proof of concept work to deployment of fleets, the market will soar.”
Teal Group’s 2018 World Civil UAS Market Profile and Forecast projects that non-military UAS production will total USD88.3 billion in the next decade, soaring from USD4.4 billion worldwide in 2018 to USD13.1 billion in 2027, a 12.9% compound annual growth rate. The forecast includes commercial, consumer and civil government systems. Teal Group, provides support for the FAA in the preparation of its commercial UAS forecast.
Firms in traditional aerospace, data analysis, semiconductors, telecommunications are all driving aggressively into the civil market. Technology companies like Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Apple as well as venture capitalists have poured more than USD500 million into startup investments in 2017, a record level, and more than USD2 billion since 2012. US start-ups have received 76% of the funding, enabling them to take the lead in development of drone analytics. Chinese firms, which have received 4% of the investment, are focusing on continuing their lead in hardware, moving from consumer to commercial systems.
While funding still goes for new drones focused on specialized markets, increasingly the venture capital funding is shifting from hardware to software and services that will make drones more useful. Funding is being used to develop the scale needed to serve large corporations.
As a market segment, construction will lead the commercial UAS market over the next decade. All 10 of the largest worldwide construction firms are deploying or experimenting with systems and will be able to quickly deploy fleets worldwide.
Agriculture, which is the most established commercial market thanks to Japan’s use of high value spraying UAVs for decades, has tremendous potential, but will grow more slowly than other sectors. It still will rank second worldwide over the next.