Drone Industry Insights (DII) analyzed more than 500 global companies whose core business is to manufacture drones. Here’s what they found…
The top positions in the ranking are occupied by manufacturers of multi-rotor drones in the prosumer sector. DII classifies prosumer drones as those with prices that do not exceed $10,000. Here are the top three commercial drone manufacturers of 2021, according to DII:
DJI continues to be the undisputed leader of commercial drone manufacturers in 2021, with an estimated global market share between 70%-80%. Others, however, are more niche suppliers, providing professional solutions to industries like energy and construction.
Parrot appears to be an exception though. The company has been ranked No. 2 despite difficult years with staff layoffs and continued sales declines. According to DII, “[Parrot] remains one of the world’s most prominent drone manufacturers.” And like many other manufacturers, the European drone group is using the opportunity in the US to offer products to governmental entities, such as the US Army and the Defense Innovation Unit, to replace DJI products.
XAG, the third place holder, is another Chinese drone manufacturer. The company initially developed consumer drones, but now they focus mainly on manufacturing agricultural drones. After introducing crop-dusting drones in 2013, they now own more than half of China’s market for agricultural drones.
Best dual-use drone manufacturers of 2021
As part of their report, DII also took a hard look at dual-use drone manufacturers, i.e., those who develop drones for both commercial and governmental use. Here are the top companies in this category:
AeroVironment is best known as the manufacturer of backpack-size drones that US soldiers use to get a better sense of what lies around the corner. The company has signed several deals in the past few months to broaden its portfolio, including buying Arcturus UAV to expand its drone offerings to include larger aircraft.
The runner-up, Insitu, is a company that Boeing acquired in 2008 for around $400 million. Insitu faced some difficulties in 2019 when it had to cut jobs to remain competitive. DII nevertheless stresses that Insitu has become one of the most important and best drone manufacturers worldwide, thanks to its widely used military platforms ScanEagle and RQ-21A Blackjack.
Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics comes third in DII’s dual-use drone manufacturer ranking. It’s worth noting that Rafael Advanced Defense Systems acquired a 50% stake in the company at the end of 2019.
DII further points out that the hardware market is dominated by Chinese companies for commercial drones. Out of the top 40 global commercial drone manufacturers, 11 companies are from China.
Interestingly, US manufacturers dominate the market share for dual-use drones. Companies in this sector were often able to conclude contracts worth millions with defense or other governmental ministries.
DII also concedes that there is no way around DJI, which maintains its supremacy in the commercial prosumer market through innovative products and smart strategic partnerships. That said, there are some other great drone manufacturers across the world whose offerings are proving important for safety-critical and highly demanding jobs.