Year-Over-Year Drone Revenue Soars, According to NPD

Drone dollar sales for the past 12 months were three times higher than sales from prior year  

Port Washington, NY, May 25, 2016 – In the past 12 months (ending April 2016), drone sales have grown 224 percent year-over-year to nearly $200 million, according to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service. Over the past six months (ending April 2016), sales growth has accelerated to more than four times higher than the same time period last year*.  The following brands are leading the industry in drone sales:

Top Selling Drone Brands Ranked by Percent of U.S. Dollar Share

Rank by Percent of U.S. Dollar Share Brand Name
2 Parrot
3 Protocol
4 Yuneec
5 3D Robotics

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service/12 months ending April 2016


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.  

“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.”

Drones proved to be a compelling holiday item with the 2015 holiday season seeing unit sales increasing 445 percent from the prior holiday season. Accompanied by high consumer interest and competitive prices, sales for December alone were 273 percent higher. Demand for drones were seemingly unaffected by the announcement and implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s registration rule, requiring owners of drones weighing between 0.55 lbs. and 55 lbs. to register their products before flying them outdoors. From the announcement in October to the implementation in December, dollar sales at least doubled month over month.

“It’s not surprising that drones were highly sought after during last year’s holiday season,” said Arnold. “But even after the holidays, NPD’s consumer research indicates drone purchase expectations remain high, especially among younger consumers. This points to continued growth and healthy demand for the category.”


*Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service

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Megan Scott

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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