The FAA was expecting there to be only about 15,000 drones in the U.S. by 2020. The Dai-Jiang Innovation Technology Company – better known as DJI — now sells more than that every month. Over the Christmas season, drone sales in the US may top a million, and DJI Phantoms will soar over every rooftop.
Part of the success has been because of the advances in enabling technology, but DJI have succeeded in driving the drone business forward by a clever process of vertical integration which has seen them soar ahead of US competitors. From just $4m in sales in 2011, the company now looks like selling more than a billion-dollars worth of drones in one year. I explore exactly how they’ve achieved this astonishing growth in this piece in Popular Mechanics.
There’s a clear message in here for the military drone market. Commercial drones used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and were confined to a handful of users. DJI changed that, making small drones cheap, easy to use and incredibly numerous. Military small drones are still expensive and confined to the few…but DJI has not entered the military drone market yet.