Drone Sales Soar Dramatically Since Last Year

April 12, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Just a few short years ago, drones only seemed to come up in conversations about the ethics of modern warfare. That era must seem far away to internet of things app developers witnessing the current drone boom. At this point, drones are popping up everywhere and doing a little bit of everything. Amazon’s much-hyped PrimeAir program made its first public delivery in the U.S. late last month, and WalMart is developing an in-store drone delivery system that would transport items between departments. Hospitals in Switzerland are using drones to ferry blood samples from one hospital to another. Drones are being used in law enforcement, fire prevention, farming, tennis practice, and halftime shows at the big game — they are well on their way to becoming a ubiquitous feature of our day-to-day lives.

Figures released yesterday by the NPD Group indicate that consumers are buying into the drone phenomenon too. From February 2016 to February 2017 drone sales have increased 117%. Part of this impressive spike comes from the number of cheaper, entry-level drones that sold around the holiday season, but the majority of dollar sales comes from premium units priced above $300. In the first two months of this year, top-of-the-line drones comprised less than half of all units sold, but made up 84% of dollar sales. While casual hobbyists have helped bump up the number of drones sold, IoT app developers should note that pricier advanced drones with features like autopilot and follow mode tend to fly off the shelves at a much faster rate.

The proliferation of drones has forced lawmakers to begin thinking about how to regulate the skies. San Diego IoT app developers saw new regulations passed in their city this week, as the city incorporated the Federal Aviation Administration’s national laws into the city’s municipal code, allowing for stronger enforcement of the laws. Expect other cities to follow suit. In a way these regulations are an encouraging sign, as they confirm that drones have arrived in the mainstream.

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