With over 70% of the world’s consumer drone market, China’s DJI is preparing to open its first flagship retail store in a Chinese shopping center next month. The company says that the new store is DJI’s biggest retail investment to date anywhere in the world.
While DJI sells direct to consumers via its website and a few small airport kiosks and pop-up stores, it has gained most of its market share by working with dealers around the world. The vast majority of DJI’s sales currently come from outside of China, where the market for drones is still in the very beginning stages, and analysts say that DJI may have to invest heavily in marketing to boost Chinese demand.
The company says that the Shenzhen flagship store will offer all DJI products, from high-end commercial drones costing around $4,000. to $500. consumer drones, and accessories like the Osmo robotic selfie stick. The sleek white concept drawing looks remarkably like an Apple store, with an expansive floor space of about 8,500 square feet. But while most people go to an Apple store to play with the products, they won’t really be able to do that at DJI’s drone store. “We want more people to see and touch our products,” a DJI spokesman says, but as The Verge reports, it may be more looking than touching. While DJI plans a “drone cage” for demonstrations, customers will not be allowed to fly the drones, but can watch them demonstrated by DJI pilots.
DJI’s latest move comes as Parrot’s CEO tells Forbes magazine that he predicts a “bloody year” for drone companies, as the consumer market explodes and competition between manufacturers ramps up. Branded flagship stores could be a market differentiator which may allow DJI to hold on to – and expand – their dominance in the consumer drone market. A DJI spokesman told Caixin that the company hopes to expand their flagship retail stores around the world in the future, but currently have no specific plans.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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