U.S. Dollar Sales of Drones Increased 33 Percent in 2017, with Drones Priced $500 and Above Accounting for More Than Half of Dollar Sales

Drones priced between $500- $999 saw the strongest growth, according to NPD

Port Washington, NY, March 15, 2018 – According to global information provider, The NPD Group, U.S. dollar sales of drones increased 33 percent in 2017, with dollar sales of drones priced $500 and above making up 69 percent of sales revenue. Over the past year, drones priced between $500- $999 saw the most significant sales growth compared to 2016, with dollar sales more than doubling (155 percent). This growth resulted in drones in this price range gaining 17 dollar share points during this timeframe.

According to NPD’s Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking data, distribution, which is based on Annual Industry Volume1, grew across all price bands for the three months ending October 2017. During this time, drones in the $500- $999 price band saw the largest distribution increase, a trend that continued during the holiday season (Nov. - Dec. 2017). Additionally, during the holidays, drones priced in the $500- $999 price band and the $1,000+ price band saw the only increase in the number of items available.

“Growing distribution of drones is one factor driving increasing sales, as these products are more readily accessible to consumers,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Consumers are also willing to spend more for features including premium camera quality, portability, and on-board storage.”

In 2017, sales of drones with foldable/collapsible form factors increased significantly and made up nearly half of U.S. dollar sales (46 percent) of drones, compared to only three percent in 2016. Additionally, dollar sales of drones with the ability to capture 4K video have grown 95 percent year over year and more than doubled from a unit perspective.  

“Consumers want to be able to easily take their drone on excursions to new places to capture the experience from a different perspective, which is why we are seeing increasing availability of premium features from market leaders, like DJI,” noted Arnold. “Advances in form factors that increase portability and camera enhancements, will continue to fuel consumer interest in 2018.”


Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service

1 Annual Industry Volume (AIV) uses annualized store-level sales for a specific industry (or sub-industry), in this case the Total Imaging sub-industry within Consumer Electronics, as the weighting mechanism to report a product’s distribution in the marketplace. This offers a more precise measure of distribution than total sales of stores carrying those industry products (since most stores sell products across many industries).

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