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Will 2018 be the year of the drone?

The drone market has been growing rapidly over the last few years and the end does not seem to be in sight. The affordability and availability of very capable drones from companies such as DJI, GoPro, Yuneec and others, have given rise to new drone markets in areas such as agriculture, emergency response, inspections, insurance, professional drone racers, photographers and filmmakers and of course the consumer, who is responsible for 94% of the drone market. Research company Gartner reported that unit sales rose 60% in 2016 and will grow another 39% this year.

So what does that mean for 2018?

Is the drone market going to continue its stellar growth? Of course, there are no guarantees, but it seems that the growth pattern may continue. Gartner expects the total sales of both consumer and professional drones to reach $11.2 billion, up from $6 billion in 2017. That means a continued annual growth rate of at least 23%. In a press release Gartner said:

“Personal drones will continue to increase in popularity as an affordable extension of consumers’ smartphones for taking photographs and selfies and for other entertainment options,”

New technology could help achieve these lofty numbers. DJI has been rumored to come out with a Spark 2, Mavic Pro 2 and a Phantom 5 either late this years before the holidays or early 2018. GoPro recently released improved software for their GoPro Karma and at that time the CEO, Nick Goodman confirmed to Engadget that they are indeed working on a Karma 2.

Of course, we don’t know what 2018 will look like but the new tech may give consumers and professionals reasons to upgrade and both Gartner and the FAA are quite bullish on the growth of the drone market.

Table 1. Personal and Commercial Drones Revenue Forecast 2016-17 (Thousands of U.S. Dollars)

2016 2017
Personal 1,705,845 2,362,228
Commercial 2,799,272 3,687,128
Total Revenue 4,505,117 6,049,356
Personal 35.5% 34.3%

Source: Gartner (February 2017)

Table 2. Personal and Commercial Drones Units Forecast 2016-17 (Thousands of U.S. Dollars)

2016 2017
Personal 2,041.9 2,817.3
Commercial 110.3 174.1
Total Units 2,152.2 2,991.4
Personal 60.3% 39.0%

Source: Gartner (February 2017)



Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo