Business / Technology

China's consumer drones market sets to boom in 2017

( Updated: 2016-06-21 15:26


With a compound annual growth rate of 122.4 percent, China's civil aerial photography drone shipments are expected to reach 5.46 million by 2020, of which consumer level drone shipments will exceed 3 million, said market research firm International Data Corp (IDC).

According to analysis released at IDC Asia-Pacific/China Market Trend Forum on June 14 in Beijing, China's total civil aerial photography drones market is relatively small at present with shipments in 2015 at just 160,000.

China's consumer drones market sets to boom in 2017

An exhibitor (R) introduces a foldable firefighting drone to a visitor at the China Hi-tech Fair in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, Nov 18, 2015.[Photo/Xinhua]

As its ecosystem has not been completely established, there will be huge opportunities in the future and the market is expected to take off from the latter half of this year.

"While the commercial drone market will grow steadily, the consumer drone market will witness boom in 2017," said Xiao Jing, research manager of IDC China.

"The market explosion will be triggered by lower prices and improvements in portability and usability. And for low-end consumer drones, the most crucial function should be one-step take-offs."

Xiao predicted that with model airplanes and toy manufacturers gradually entering the market, consumer drones will become more affordable.

In addition, several Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi Corp, LeEco Holdings Ltd, Meitu Inc also want a piece of the market and have already launched their drones.

China's consumer drones market sets to boom in 2017

A visitor takes photos of a drone made by China North Industries Group Corporation at the China Hi-tech Fair in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, Nov 18, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to a report of Qilu Evening News, featuring a "selfie function" and aiming at female users, Meitu's drone combines its smartphone with a flight system to achieve aerial photography.

"It is their channels rather than their technologies that can help them get a piece of the consumer drone market," said Xiao.

She said most drone makers, except Shenzhen-based DJI Innovation Technology Co, have little brand influence in the country and smartphone manufactures without core technology of drones can take their brand advantages and users group to promote the popularity of drones among ordinary consumers.

Another trend of consumer drones will be the combination between drones and Virtual Reality (VR), said Xiao.

"Drones combined with VR devices that enable users to see real-time VR aerial pictures will be successively launched this year. And there will also be more drones carrying 360 degree cameras that able to capture collect panoramic picture sources."

She said a main technical difficulty faced by drone makers is how to reduce the chip's volume and power consumption and improve its processing performance without affecting the drone's stable flight control.

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