After more than a decade working for Lufthansa, the largest airline company in Germany, Kay Wackwitz saw a growing trend in the aerospace industry. Drone technology was beginning to branch out from the realm of military and hobby use, becoming a stable commercial industry. One of the most important lessons that Kay had learned from his experiences, was that a well informed industry has lasting power. So, in 2014, Kay founded Drone Industry Insights (DII) out of Hamburg.
DII has become the leading expert in the drone industry’s market research and analysis. “Drone Industry Insights is the leading source for business intelligence in the field of commercial drones,” states the company website. “Democratizing drone market intelligence, current trends and future potential is at the core of our philosophy.” Though DII does not manufacture or operate any drones, they are comprised of a team of some of the most drone-educated advisors in the world. Kay has even been called one of the most influential individuals in the commercial drone industry.
The company offers bespoke drone analysis, subscription services, and offers plenty of free resources. This means that any drone company, be it DJI or a small research lab, has access to the resources needed to develop sustainable drone programs. In April of 2022, DII released their Drone Market Report 2021-2026, a tool that can make all the difference in knowing how to proceed into the drone industry. One of the main components of the report involves an analysis of more than 500 drone manufacturers and how they rank.
It comes as no surprise that China’s DJI continues to be the top commercial drone manufacturer in the world. Representing 70%-80% of the global market share, DII predicts that DJI will hold onto the top position for years to come. The second place runner up was France’s Parrot. DII explains that maintaining this ranking is the fact that many global governments do not feel comfortable purchasing Chinese made drones. An interesting find from the report is manufacturers that corner niche markets seem to fare better than the hundreds making general commercial drones. For example, China’s XAG has claimed the spot as the third largest drone manufacturer by making drones specifically for the agricultural market. In China alone XAG controls more than half of the agricultural drone market.
While the most successful drone manufacturers are not US based companies, the report did find that a few US companies were making a large impact on another type of niche drone market. The most popular dual-use drones, what DII describes as those applicable for civilian and government commercial industries, are from the US based AeroVironment and Insitu. This again stems from the fact that government entities want to rely on drones made outside of China for security purposes. All of the data presented by DII allows companies looking to invest in and utilize drone technology with a map of how to proceed. It goes beyond customer reviews to give hard facts. As DII states on its website, “We support companies around the world in building sustainable business models and help investors make the right decisions in a new and extremely dynamic industry.”