The FAA predicted as many as 1 million drones could be sold this holiday season. Of course, this number depends on exactly how the FAA defines “drone” but, it also depends on price.
After all, drones aren’t exactly cheap, so the number of drones sold this year may well be contingent upon drone sales.
Drone manufacturers are absolutely aware of this and will no doubt try to entice you with some incentives. Below are our predictions for Black Friday/Cyber Monday drone deals for 2015.
A couple things to keep in mind: The best deals are always on the oldest models. You may very well see a DJI Phantom 2 or a 3D Robotics Iris+ on sale for only a few hundred dollars but it is important to know that these models are several years old and receive little to no customer or software support from their manufacturers.
Another trend among consumer tech at the holidays is a bundle deal rather than actual dollars off a list price. What we saw last year in the drone community was often a package deal that cost the same or just slightly less, with a few extra components thrown in for good measure. Additional batteries, propellers, or carrying cases were often included in to sweeten the deal of a regularly priced drone.
All that being said, let’s look at the three big guys:
In past years, 3DR has offered $50-$150 off their UAV products and we expect that trend to continue this year, especially among their older and lesser known models like the IRIS+ and the X8.
However, the big release for 3DR in 2015 was the Solo, a drone our team was thoroughly impressed with. Since the drone is relatively new though, we don’t expect any significant price drop.
What we do expect is perhaps the inclusion of a free extra battery ($150 value) or maybe a price drop on the Solo/Smart gimbal combo pack (an equivalent $150 off).
As of this writing, DJI has already gotten into the ‘season of sales’ spirit by dropping the price of the Phantom 3 Standard from $799 to $699.
Similarly, they have also dropped the price of the Standard with extra battery and hard shell case from $1,059 to $959.
As we get closer to Black Friday, it wouldn’t be all the surprising to see a similar small discount on the Phantom 3 Advanced or Inspire 1 drones and we are very confident, based on deals from past years, there will be bundle deals available.
However, we don’t expect much of a discount on DJI’s marquee product, the Phantom 3 Professional edition. DJI’s increased popularity (and funding) over the last year could lead to better deals on their flagship drone this year, but we are setting our expectations in line with what we have seen in the past.
If there is one drone we are confident will see a decent percent discount it’s the Parrot Bebop.
Parrot has been fairly consistent in discounting its products every year and, since the Bebop has been on the market for a (relatively) long time, we expect there to be some savings to be had.
But the inevitable discount on the Bebop brings up an important final point to consider when shopping for a drone this Black Friday/Cyber Monday:
The best thing to do when search for technology deals this Black Friday is this: Check Amazon.
Especially in the case of DJI and Parrot.
If you are looking to just save money on a drone and avoid getting upsold on a bundle with more perks thrown in, Amazon historically is your best bet.
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