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Commercial Drone Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product (Fixed Wing, Rotary Wing, and Hybrid Multirotor), By System (Hardware (Airframe, Propulsion System, Payloads, and Others) and Software), By Technology (Fully Autonomous, Semi-autonomous), By Application (Filming & Photography, Horticulture and Agriculture, Inspection and Maintenance, Mapping and Surveying, Surveillance & Monitoring), and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102171



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The global commercial drone market size was USD 1,915.0 million in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with commercial drones witnessing a short-term negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the market exhibited a higher growth of 20.37% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 2,317.2 million in 2021 to USD 11,295.1 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 25.39% during the 2021-2028 period.

A drone is a flying computer with a sensor and camera attached. It is also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). A drone is widely perceived as a gadget to capture attractive aerial photography and high-definition videos for various applications around the world. Drone images and videos are widely required in commercial industries such as media, entertainment, and the surveillance industry.

The growing awareness is triggering the business outlook, gaining wide attention from companies investing in drone technology. Some companies are investing in new start-ups through well-funded strategic approaches to address the demand for drone portfolios such as air taxis, surveying, logistics, mapping, surveillance, and monitoring. Other applications include long-range surveillance such as Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BOVSL). The advancement in recent years is primarily driving the demand due to essential parameters such as lighter components, high battery energy, microprocessors, sensors, and lightweight structural materials.

COVID-19 Impact

Growing Demand for Commercial Drones from Healthcare Industry Amid Covid-19 to Boost Growth

In April 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation held a meeting in North Carolina regarding the commercial use of cargo drones to deliver healthcare gear, PPE kits, and medicines. Matternet Inc. teamed up with CVS Pharmacy and UPS Flight Forward, a subsidiary of the United Parcel Service to deliver prescribed medication to the 135,000 residents living in a retirement community by drones due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

In April 2020, the UK government announced its plan to deliver food, medicines, and other help through drones. The trial will use petrol-fueled fixed-wing drones with a capacity of 100 kg and 1000 km range in the future. In Singapore, the F-Drones company is the first to receive authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) medicine deliveries to cargo ships. The drone shipped Vitamins to the cargo ships to reduce direct human contact and reduce helicopter costs by 80% to 90% in an environmentally-friendly way. The drone industry is witnessing an increase in the demand for autonomous drones amid COVID-19 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 


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Successful Integration of Artificial Intelligence Technology to Drive Market

Recent technological advancements in electronics such as cameras, mobile hardware, processors, micro-controllers, and modern computing, modernize the drone product portfolio. These developments help companies produce and develop inbuilt measurement tools and annotation tools to calculate distance, volume, and area. Therefore, to manage a large amount of information and data collected from millions of data points, companies now require machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions to extract accurate results.

The artificial intelligence technology allows managing and storing the data in large volumes, enabling the UAVs to provide enhanced performance. Recently, in July 2020, the leading drone manufacturer, Skydio, Inc., developed an AI-enabled drone, Skydio X2 to meet the needs of some of the drone industry’s most forward-thinking fleets. Several other companies are using the latest tools, which include automatic ground control points (GCP) processing using 150,000 images of targeted GCPs. These improvements by the manufacturing companies are expected to boost the global commercial drone market growth in the forthcoming years. For instance, in October 2020, China-based global leader DJI launched the first integrated LiDAR drone solution, DJI Zenmuse L1, and a powerful full-frame camera payload for aerial surveying.


Emergence of Drone Technology for Numerous Applications to Drive Market Growth

The successful design for small remote-controlled aircraft has now become the most popular commercial industry in the past few years around the world. The economic development of several countries is robustly supported by the commercial drone industry. This development has been majorly witnessed in sectors such as construction & infrastructure, agriculture, mining, oil and gas, surveying, and power generation. This industry is expected to show exponential development owing to extensive R&D initiatives by key players.

Such developments have brought down the cost of drones along with their payloads and software systems. This has resulted in successful adoption in several applications such as surveying, aerial mapping, aerial photography, inspection, and precision agriculture. There is a need for real-time data analysis on the actual ground to understand the actual potential of projects that will boost the expansion of the market.

Strongly supported by the huge investment from the major players such as DJI, Yuneec, and 3D Robotics are supporting the global business outlook. These factors are expected to fuel the growth of the global market during the forecast period.

Growing Focus On Development of Advanced UAVs to Fuel Market Growth

Technological developments in unmanned systems are expected to have a significant impact on the drone industry. In 2021, a scientist from IIIT Hyderabad has designed and developed an unmanned aerial vehicle that can handle packets of varying sizes and shapes. In 2019, the U.S. based Skydio, Inc. launched Skydio2, which got sold out on the same day. It was designed with the most advanced artificial intelligence system in the world with a Skydio Autonomy Engine. The company has established a new standard with a competitive advantage on the commercial platform. Also, Yuneec is one of the top leaders in the industry who have developed a new product to cater to high-quality service to customers in various countries.


Limited Air Traffic Management and Stringent Regulations to Limit Market Adoption

Commercial drones are widely used across industries for the past few years due to highly effective technology for various aerial applications. However, most companies are facing major concerns due to a lack of air traffic management by the aviation authorities in various countries. Many countries have implemented stringent regulations for flying drones near the airport air space and surroundings. Most countries are facing criticism regarding the violation of privacy and personal space via drone usage, mainly hampering commercial expansion.

The industry is also facing allegations of safety concerns for drone operations due to improper handling and battery failure in numerous incidents. These cases are witnessing a strong requirement of skilled and professional operators from remote control devices. The damages are creating a heavy financial loss due to improper handling, which directly impacts the safety and security concerns across the regions. These factors are expected to hamper future growth during the forecast period.


By Product Analysis

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Hybrid Multi-Rotor Drones Segment to Grow at a Higher CAGR Backed by Increasing Demand for Commercial Application

Based on the product, the market includes fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and hybrid multi-rotor.

The hybrid multi-rotor segment is projected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period in the market. This product range is highly capable of vertical takeoff and landing at a minimal space fueling the demand across the globe. The drone requires an advanced stabilization system for which can balance the payload movement during flight time.

The rotary-wing segment registered a maximum share in the base year due to the extensive adoption of rotary-wing drones for application, including surveying and mapping, inspection and maintenance, filming & photography, surveillance, & monitoring.

The fixed-wing segment is anticipated to witness a strong demand due to advanced cameras, GPS, lightweight payloads, and avionics projected to drive market growth during the forecast period.

By Technology Analysis

Remote Operated Segment to Hold Major Share of the Market

In terms of technology, the market is segmented into fully autonomous, semi-autonomous, and remote-operated.

The fully autonomous segment is expected to witness higher growth during the forecast period. The growing adoption of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, and computer vision accelerates the development of autonomous drones. These drones can fly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). It also eliminates human intervention and enhances operation range and efficiency. For instance, in May 2020, Eagle Eye Imaging LLC, a drone mapping firm, leveraged AI to provide weed detection and commercial crop counting services.

The remote-operated segment is expected to have a dominant share in the market during the forecast period. The dominance is due to an increase in demand for drones with easy flying techniques for commercial applications across the globe.

The semi-autonomous technology segment is anticipated to witness significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the rising adoption of semi-autonomous drones for precision agriculture, structure monitoring, and law enforcement application across the world.

By System Analysis

Hardware Segment to Hold a Significant Share Due to Increased Demand for UAVs

In terms of systems, the market is segmented into hardware and software.

The hardware segment is further subdivided into the airframe, propulsion system, payloads, and others.

The hardware segment is expected to hold the largest commercial drone market share in the global market in 2020 due to the increase in demand for modern UAVs for a broad range of commercial applications in several regions. This factor is expected to fuel the market at a rapid pace in the forthcoming years.

The software segment is expected to grow at a higher compound annual growth rate during the forecast period. The drone software is considered as the brain of the drone that can analyze and process the information in less time. The software majorly provides the maximum output through its advanced camera, sensors, GPS, and other tools. These can prevent damage from drones by battery failure in several cases. The modern drone software is capable of enabling backup power to the safe return of drones to the base stations in a wide range of operations. Aerial image mapping and real-time maps are majorly operated through the software tools to create an accurate 3D image for various applications by analyzing a million images.

By Application Analysis

Filming & Photography Application Segment to Dominate

Based on application, the market is segmented into filming & photography, horticulture and agriculture, inspection and maintenance, mapping and surveying, surveillance & monitoring, delivery and logistic, and others.

The filming & photography application segment is registered to account for a large share in the base year. The growing demand for aerial photo shoots in the media, entertainment, and advertisement industry due to the emergence of social media platforms across the world is anticipated to drive industry expansion in the forthcoming years.

The horticulture and agriculture sector is one of the most prominent areas of innovation in which drones are likely to be used significantly across the world in the future years due to low-cost product portfolio advantages.

The rising adoption of drone inspection technology in oil and gas industries to enhance safety and save time and cost is anticipated to drive the demand for commercial drones.

Architects, engineers, and contractors widely adopt small drones for real estate projects for site analysis to create 3-dimensional prospects for project completion. The new concept for image mapping is helping businesses to generate great results in various countries.


North America Commercial Drone Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)

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The global market is segmented, based on region, into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

North America stood at USD 730.0 million in 2020 and is expected to dominate the global market during the forecast period. This is attributable to the increasing demand from various industries and sectors in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. has a strong presence of key players such as 3D Robotics, Inc., GoPro, Inc., and Autel Robotics, contributing to the regional revenue generation. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restricted the use of a commercial drone within the line of sight, which has still limited the growth of the market.

The market in Europe is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the rising demand for small drones and mini drones and the presence of prominent manufacturers and service providers in the region. Several countries in the region have manufacturing facilities, service providers, and training centers that will drive the market expansion.

The market in Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit an exponential growth owing to the increasing operation and production companies across the region. The regional growth is projected to continue at a rapid pace due to the wide potential and customer base in the region. In addition to this, market players such as DJI, Yuneec Holding Ltd, and Holy Stone in this region are making heavy investments, which in turn, will fuel demand for the commercial drone.

Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are analyzed for a comparatively lower share of the market owing to the increase in consumer awareness for drone use in the oil & gas industry.


Strong Product Portfolio of DJI, Yuneec, and Parrot Drone Leading to Market Dominance

The market is fragmented, with several key players in the market. These key players focus on enhancing the product portfolio, attractive pricing strategy, and marketing activities anticipated to boost revenue share in the next few years. Currently, DJI (China), Yuneec (China), and Parrot Drone (France) are leading the market with a dominant revenue share in 2020. However, a lack of strong barriers and strong domestic demand is projected to increase the number of domestic players.

Other key players such as AeroVironment Inc., SenseFly, Kespry, 3D Robotics (U.S.), GoPro (U.S.), and Autel Robotics (U.S.), and PrecisionHawk (U.S.) have also entered the market competition with wide commercial drone products. New development, innovation, product launch, acquisition, partnership, and collaboration are some of the major strategies adopted by market players operating in the market. In March 2021, the leading drone manufacturer DJI introduced its novel first-person view (FPV) drone for entertainment and media end-use applications.


  • 3D Robotics, Inc. (The U.S.) 

  • Aeronavics Ltd. (New Zealand)

  • AeroVironment Inc. (The U.S.)

  • Autel Robotics (China)

  • Draganfly Innovations Inc. (Canada)

  • Ehang (China)

  • FLIR Systems, Inc. (The U.S.)

  • GoPro, Inc. (The U.S.)

  • Holy Stone (China)

  • Intel Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Kespry Inc. (The U.S.)

  • Parrot Drones SAS (France)

  • PrecisionHawk, Inc. (The U.S.) 

  • SenseFly SA (Switzerland)

  • Skydio, Inc. (The U.S.)

  • SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. (China)

  • Yuneec Holding Ltd (China)


  • June 2021 – In a first, FAA has approved Skydio’s nationwide dock-based remotely operated drone operations for BNSF Railways for inspection, monitoring, surveillance, maintenance applications to enhance worker safety, efficiency, the reduction in carbon emissions.

  • June 2021 – Skydio has announced the launch of Skydio 3D Scan, an adaptive scanning software with automatic data acquisition to facilitate the qualitative assessment report, reconstruction of damages, and quicker inspection through aerial photogrammetry capture.

  • March 2021 – senseFly announced the distributor partnership agreement with Tough Stump Technologies to facilitate government and defense professionals for data acquisition and analytics of the tactical data mapping and aerial intelligence via UAS.

  • February 2021 – senseFly has unveiled its eBee Ag. This fixed-wing agricultural mapping drone will be a user-friendly and economical option for agricultural aerial mapping, crop monitoring, planning, and plant health insights.


An Infographic Representation of Commercial Drone Market

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The global commercial drone market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects, such as product types, technology, hardware, and software systems. Moreover, the research report offers insights into market trends, competitive landscape, market competition, product pricing, market status, and key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the market report encompasses several direct and indirect factors that have contributed to the sizing of the global market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Million)


  Product; Technology; System; Application and Geography

By Product

  • Fixed Wing

  • Rotary Wing

  • Hybrid Multirotor

By Technology

  • Fully Autonomous

  • Semi-autonomous

  • Remote Operated

By System

  • Hardware

    • Airframe

    • Propulsion System

    • Payload

    • Others

  • Software

By Application

  • Filming & Photography

  • Horticulture and Agriculture

  • Inspection and Maintenance

  • Mapping and Surveying

  • Surveillance & Monitoring

  • Delivery and logistic

  • Others


By Geography

  • North America (By Product, Technology, System, Application, and Country)

    • The U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe (By Product, Technology, System, Application, and Country)

    • The U.K. (By Application)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • Italy (By Application)

    • Spain (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • ·Asia Pacific (By Product, Technology, System, Application, and Country)

    • China (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • Australia (By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Rest of the World (By Product, Technology, System, Application, and Sub-Region)

    • The Middle East & Africa (By Application)

    • Latin America (By Application)


Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1,915.0 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 11,295.1 million by 2028.

Registering a CAGR of 25.39%, the market will exhibit rapid growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).

The rotary-wing segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd., Yuneec Holding Ltd., and 3D Robotics, Inc. are the major players in the global market.

Some of the popular drone models are DJI Mavic 2 Pro., DJI Phantom, DJI Inspire 2, Flyability Elios 2, senseFly eBeeX, Skydio 2, Autel Evo 2

Use of the drone for commercial applications are popular among users for Aerial photography and Filmography, Entrainment, Shipping and delivery, Geographic mapping, Precision agriculture, Weather forecasting, Disaster management, Law Enforcement and among various applications at remote locations.

North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.

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