Drone Sales Grow 224% to $200 Million

The FAA’s mandatory drone registration does not seem to be impacting UAV sales, which have grown 224 percent from April 2015 to April 2016 for a total of nearly $200 million, according to The NPD Group. Sales of 4K drone cameras are also up.

Robotic Trends reports the FAA’s database indicates there are now “461,433 registered hobbyist drone owners in 39,471 zip codes.” NPD notes that DJI is the clear US market leader at 49 percent, followed by Parrot (19 percent), Protocol (6.3 percent), Yuneec (5.6 percent) and 3D Robotics (4 percent). Drones with 4K cameras represented more than one-third of sales for the 12 month period, and GPS-outfitted drones accounted for 64 percent of sales.

“The drone category is continuing to take shape as new products and features such as 4K cameras, Bluetooth and built-in GPS, reveal an expanding range of use cases. The market is maturing in that respect,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “The continued interest around unmanned aerial systems and an expanding retail footprint point to a strong 2016 and 2017 as a result.”

According to NPD, drones with 4K cameras accounted for more than one-third of dollar sales in the 12 months ending April 2016, while drones with built-in GPS accounted for 64 percent of revenue. Additionally, drones with an average price greater than $500 accounted for 56 percent of dollar sales in that same time period. The average drone sold for more than $550 in April, giving drones one of the highest average prices of all categories in technology at retail.

Last December the FAA launched mandatory drone registration for anyone who owns a drone weighing more than 0.55 lbs. but less than 55 lbs. flying outdoors for hobby or recreation. Failure to register a drone can result in civil penalties up to $27500, and criminal penalties for failure to register can include fines of up to $250k. To register, you’ll need to provide your name, home address and e-mail address.

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