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The global small drone market size was USD 7,720.3 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 35,009.4 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.11% during the forecast period.
A small UAV is a miniature pilotless aircraft gaining strong popularity due to its numerous commercial sector and military applications. It plays an important role by performing innovative functionalities across several businesses, commercial organizations, management, and government organizations. The extreme adoption of miniature drones across the industries owing to its improved work efficiency, excellent productivity, and high accuracy in capturing images is projected to fuel the market growth during the forecast period. Technological advancement in the software platform has made it possible to operate drone operations through mobile applications or a smart-phone app.
Small unmanned aerial vehicles are available in numerous sizes, shapes, and variety possessing superior capabilities that enable them to reach confined places, especially during covert military applications. The key reason behind the significant adoption of small drones in military operations such as ISR missions is that no manpower is needed in the battlefield operations while saving time, effort, and energy. These factors are expected to drive market growth globally in the forthcoming years.
For instance, in March 2020, Zipline International set up a drone delivery facility and distribution center across South Africa and Ghana. Zipline International has been delivering over 200 medical products such as vaccines, life-saving drugs, medicines, blood plasma, PPE kits, and other hospital requirements. The drone delivery system in Ghana is also delivering blood samples to the COVID laboratory testing centers.
Increasing Demand for Small Drones Across Several Industries amid COVID-19 to Fuel Market Growth
COVID-19 has spread at alarming speed across 250 countries globally since its discovery in late 2019. Several governments have imposed severe lockdown to break the virus chain and flatten the curve by reducing a human to human spread. The government agencies are making extraordinary efforts to enhance healthcare facilities, hospital infrastructure, and primary treatment facilities worldwide. Unmanned systems such as drones help to establish contact and extract vital health information from highly infected areas and during the requirement of human free operations.
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Introduction of Pocket-Sized Miniature Drones for Military Operations to Drive Market Growth
The global adoption of small unmanned aerial vehicles owing to its versatile functionalities is likely to benefit several industries in the forthcoming years. Therefore, small unmanned aerial vehicles’ potential for commercialization is gaining recognition due to technological advancements in sensors, software, weight, and drone size. Unmanned aerial vehicles consist of numerous parts and components such as a camera, payload, sensors, power supply, hardware, processor, and autonomous software.
Several companies are developing small unmanned aerial systems of pocket-sized, which can be used for several applications, including military operations. In 2019, the U.S.-based company, Flir Systems, received a contract to manufacture the most advanced pocket-sized unmanned aerial vehicle, Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS). It is fully equipped with an HD camera, a size of 6.6 inches, and weighs less than 33 grams. The pocket-size Black Hornet can fly up to 25 minutes with a speed of 13.35 mph. It is specially designed for military operations to take HD photos and live videos.
Several NATO-allied countries such as Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, France, and Spain are adopting pocket-sized drones for their specific application in commercial and defense applications. These developments are projected to fuel the market growth during the forecast period.
Growing Adoption of Drones for Air Logistic Services to Surge Demand
The commercial potential of the small drone is gaining extensive popularity across the industries for the last few years. The autonomy in drone technology is transforming operation methods and new commercial applications. The drones are widely used in the media, entertainment, advertisement, precision agriculture, real estate, surveying, construction, remote sensing, environment monitoring, emergency management & disaster response, and forest monitoring applications. The increasing demand for lightweight and faster delivery and transportation for logistics is projected to fuel the market growth during the forecast period.
For instance, in 2018, Wakemed Health & Hospital in North Carolina partnered with the transportation department to test the practicality of delivering medical packages between the two hospitals. Besides, in 2019, Zipline International was the newest example for the drone medical delivery system in Rwanda, South Africa, which raised over USD 237 million. It supplies healthcare kits, PPE kits, life-saving drugs, medicines, and other blood samples to hospitals across southern Africa. These factors are projected to fuel demand for small drones during the forecast period.
Rising Military & Defense Expenditure to Propel Market Growth
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military & defense expenditure surpassed USD 1917 billion in 2019. The annual growth was found to be around 3.6% from the previous year in 2018. The maximum share of global military expenditure came from key countries such as China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, in which China and India were the top military & defense technology purchasers across the globe. The increasing demand for the latest and modern military technology to enhance various countries' defense systems is likely to fuel the small drone market growth during the forecast period.
The rising tension on the international borders in several countries due to border disputes will drive small drones demand worldwide. Unmanned aerial vehicles are widely used to carry patrolling operations in countries such as China, U.S., India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. The military operations further include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions through drone systems. These factors are projected to fuel the market growth during the forecast period.
High Cost Associated with Devices and Components to Limit Market Adoption
The unmanned aerial vehicle is a sophisticated technology that consists of different parts and components such as GPS, GIS, camera, sensors, payload, motors, power supply, and airframe. Small drones find numerous applications in the military & defense for intelligence and commercial purposes. The unmanned aerial vehicles are automated technologies that depend on various components, sensors, and software that are costly to manufacture. Therefore, the high prices of small drones are expected to hamper the future growth of the market during the forecast period.
There are several restrictions imposed on the drones' usage for logistics and transportation in the U.S. and other countries due to the lack of uniform air traffic management for UAVs. These are the major concerns likely to hamper the demand for the small drone market during the forecast period.
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Hybrid Wing Segment to Grow at Faster Pace
Based on type, the market includes fixed-wing, hybrid wing, and rotary wing.
The rotary-wing segment held a dominant share of the market in 2019. The dominance is due to excellent aerial operations, easy vertical takeoff and landing, and high aerial photography efficiency.
The fixed-wing drones segment is expected to experience high growth in the market due to the long-range flying capabilities of the drones for several applications across the globe. These drones require extra space for takeoff operation, along with the operator enabling force, to throw the drones in the air for launching.
The hybrid wing segment is projected to register a higher CAGR by 2027 due to increased search & rescue operations, firefighting, wildlife surveys, and disaster management. Several drone companies are adopting various aerodynamics structures for increasing accuracy, power supply, and autonomy.
Manufacturing companies are focused on enhancing the multi-rotor models due to easy takeoff and landing benefits across the globe that is likely to drive the rotary wing segment in the forthcoming years.
5-25 Kg Segment Dominated the Market in 2019
The market is segmented into less than 5 Kg, 5-25 Kg, and above 25-150 Kg based on Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW).
The 5-25 Kg segment, also known as mini drones, dominated the market in 2019 and is expected to showcase an exponential growth during the forecast period. Technological advancement in the software-based platforms for the mobile application and drone-based ICT tools are enhancing the accuracy, reliability, and efficiency of drones.
The less than 5 Kg segment includes small drones that have been widely used in developed and developing countries for sanitizing and disinfecting purposes during the pandemic that is likely to boost the segment growth during the forecast period. Agriculture is the best example of the small UAVs used for irrigation, pesticide spraying, and seeding application in precision farming. Additionally, the small drones can carry fire control aids, disaster relief & emergency food supply, and medical supply to the various countries. These benefits are fuelling demand for small drones across the world.
Rise in Demand for Small Drones in Military & Defense Sector to Propel Market Growth
In terms of end-user, the market is segmented into military & defense, consumer, and commercial & civil. The military & defense segment is expected to have a dominant share in the market during the forecast period. The dominance is due to increased demand for military operations such as intelligence and surveillance operations in several countries. The growing demand for small drones to carry out homeland surveillance, border patrolling & security, border management, and logistics & transportation will fuel market growth in the forthcoming years.
The consumer segment is expected to showcase a strong growth due to the growing demand for drones amongst the young generation for hobby purposes in several countries during the forecast.
The commercial & civil segments are expected to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period due to the increase in the number of commercial applications such as field mapping, crop monitoring, logistics & transportation, surveying, and remote sensing in developed and emerging countries.
North America Small Drone Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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The market size in North America stood at USD 2933.7 million in 2019. The dominance of the region is attributable to the increasing demand for drones for military operation, logistics, and transportation purposes. This, along with the presence of established manufacturing companies, sellers, and distributors in the U.S and Canada, is anticipated to lead to the dominance of the small drone market in the region.
Europe is expected to grow at a significant CAGR owing to the rising awareness regarding aerial photography, precision agriculture, and disaster relief. Furthermore, the increasing demand for these products for transportation purposes is expected to bode well for the market growth in the region.
The market in Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit considerable growth owing to the increasing demand for precision farming, crop monitoring, and aerial photography. In addition to this, market players in the region are making heavy investments that will fuel the demand for small drone product portfolios.
Latin America and the Middle East & Africa accounted for a comparatively lower market share due to large sellers, suppliers, and import & export companies in the region. Rapid-paced industrialization in Brazil, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia is likely to fuel market growth in the forthcoming.
Strong Portfolio of DJI, AeroVironment, and Parrot Drones to Lead Global Market Growth
The market is fragmented due to its strong product portfolio and drone services in developed and emerging countries. Northrop Grumman, DJI, and Parrot Drones are the companies that account for a dominant share in the market in 2019. However, a lack of strong entry barriers is projected to lead to an increasing number of domestic players entering the global market. This is projected to lead to a highly fragmented market by 2027.
Other key players operating in the market include Textron, 3D Robotics, Delair, Elbit System Ltd, BAE Systems, Kespry, Autel robotics, and Yuneec. The innovative drones such as Mavic Air, Vapor, and ANAFI are the key portfolio for the company’s selling worldwide. These technological giants are investing huge amounts in developing industry-specific solutions for drones, including analytics software and platforms for the customers. Collaboration, acquisition, and partnership are major strategies adopted by market players operating in the market.
An Infographic Representation of Small Drones Market
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The market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading product applications. Besides, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the advanced market's growth over recent years.
Value (USD million)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 7,720.3 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 35,009.4 million by 2027.
In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 2933.7million.
Growing at a CAGR of 24.11%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2020-2027).
The rotary wing segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The increasing demand for small drones in military applications will drive market growth.
DJI, AeroVironment, and Parrot Drones are major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market share in 2019.
The launch of advanced drones by market players VAPOR, Mavic Air2, and ANAFI are expected to drive the global markets adoption.
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