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Drone shipments are falling - will coronavirus cause them to fly high again?

by Ken Hyers | Mar 31, 2020

A new report from Strategy Analytics' Emerging Device Technologies practice reveals total global civilian drone shipments declined in 2019 as demand in North America and Western Europe slowed. Falling consumer demand in those markets in 2019 were due to the previous massive growth in drone sales in 2017 and 2018; the majority of consumers that were likely to purchase drones had done so by 2018 and fewer new-to-drone customers were available to fill the gap in 2019. Drones, like smartphones, are not the kinds of devices that are replaced every year or even two years (unless they are destroyed in crashes or lost in fly-aways). By 2019 the consumer market for drones in North America and Western Europe had become saturated.

The market for drones in 2020 will be even grimmer as a global recession and historic job losses sweep much of the world in response to the coronavirus epidemic. The slowdown will even impact demand for drones used for business, as businesses pull back on capital expenditures.

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Global drone shipments will return to growth in 2021.  A key market that we expect to emerge will be use of drones for delivery. The coronavirus and its after effects will embed the concept of social distancing and demand for delivery services – a category that drones are uniquely qualified to fulfill. Strategy Analytics expects a major push by industry for use of drones for delivery of packages, medical services and meals.

Clients of our Emerging Device Technologies practice can access the report here.
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