(Source: Market Watch)
GoPro Inc. is set to launch a quadcopter drone in the first half of 2016, and FAA data shows the action-camera company could be a behemoth that challenges current drone makers for market dominance.
GoPro’s drone is entering the consumer-level drone market to some competition, primarily from Chinese drone maker Dajiang Innovation Technology along with smaller competitors including 3D Robotics, Inc. and Parrot.
Currently, 42.9% of U.S. drones that have been granted a Section 333 Exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration — allowing drone pilots to operate commercially — are manufactured by DJI. AeroVironment comes in second place with a 9.1% share of the total registered drones, trailed by 3D Robotics and PrecisionHawk, according to a Drone Analyst report. Goldman Sachs analysts also say DJI is the leading manufacturer of drones being used for commercial purposes, with an estimated 70% market share in 2014.
In other words, there’s really only one major consumer-based drone company that GoPro needs to compete with in a growing market for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Goldman Sachs estimates the drone market is worth $1.4 billion in 2015, but forecasts it to more than triple by 2017, based on the assumption that GoPro may produce wider appeal for consumer drones.
“Privately operated UAVs are a big opportunity,” GoPro spokesman Jeff Brown said. “We believe the recent spike in adoption is attributable to the jaw-dropping video content generated by consumers.”
And with GoPro’s dominance in the action camera market, analysts say GoPro’s customer base is a natural fit with the drone industry.
“We believe this expansion makes strategic sense, as consumer drones typically carry cameras (most often GoPro’s) to capture aerial footage, and their users have a large overlap with GoPro’s customer base,” according to a July report from Goldman Sachs.
That aerial footage includes weddings, sports, family activities. “Almost anything that people do outside,” Brown said.
And that’s exactly what people already intend to use drones for, FAA data show. The FAA has granted nearly two times as many commercial drones exemptions for photo and video drone use than any other market, with inspection and monitoring trailing as the second largest use of drones.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com