A new study from Juniper Research has found the consumer drone market is set for significant growth over the next five years, fuelled by reduced component cost, increased competition and a greater number of usage cases.Juniper has found that consumer drone sales will rise to 16 million annually by 2020, up from less than 4 million this year.
Juniper notes that usage has already extended beyond the core base of hobbyists, spurred by a drop in retail price and increased functionality of devices, with most consumer drones now offering the capability for live streaming of photos and video.
Augmented reality tech is likely to become prevalent on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the near future, Juniper observes, opening up “further opportunities for innovation in applications for both the consumer and commercial sectors alike”.
Meanwhile, the market is becoming increasingly crowded. The research notes that while companies like DJI currently dominate the mid-priced and prosumer UAV market, an increasing number of players are targeting the low-tier sector.
New entrants, such as China-based companies Syma Toys and Hubsan, have grown out of the toy radio-controlled model aircraft industry, joining those that supply complementary devices and components to the UAV market, such as GoPro.
The growth of the market is also bringing with it associated security issues, with Juniper cautioning that drones’ use of unlicensed spectrum and reliance on GPS leaves them at risked of being hacked.
Juniper notes that there are also growing concerns related to privacy, amid fears UAVs could be used for purposes such as stalking or criminal surveillance of a property.
“Given drones’ capabilities to gather, store and disseminate images online, consumers are understandably uneasy that, for example, they could hover over (or within) private property and take photographs without permission,” research co-author Dr Windsor Holden commented.