Surprising news: 2019 DJI market share dropped for first time ever

The estimated DJI market share has always been huge (and still is). But for the first time ever, the 2019 DJI market share actually dropped from where it was in 2018.

That’s according to the DroneAnalyst 2020 Drone Market Sector Report, which published today. DJI’s share of the drone market dropped to 69%, down from 74% in 2018, marking the first market share decrease for the Chinese drone manufacturing giant since DroneAnalyst began collecting data in 2016.

That bucks the trend where DJI’s market share was consistently increasing. The same version of the report released in 2018 found that DJI had an estimated 74% market share, up from a 72% market share in 2017.

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The Mavic Air quadcopter is one of DJI’s most popular drones.

So what caused the drop in the 2019 DJI market share? It’s primarily due to the North American market, where the market share dropped below the average global share of 69%, down to 68%. What’s even more surprising is the huge drop-off in the North American market. In 2018, the average market share for North America was 79% — far outpacing the average global share.

But that’s not it. The shift towards the North American market has to come from somewhere, and it could be incited by a shift away from Chinese drone companies. The past two years have largely been shaped by anti-China sentiment amidst discussion that the U.S. government might ban its own agencies from using Chinese-made drones, a conversation that largely kicked off in 2017 when the U.S. Army prohibited its troops from using DJI drones because of cyber-security concerns. More recently, the Trump administration has explored an executive order that would ban all federal departments and agencies from buying or using foreign-made drones.

In fact, 27% of all drone buyers and 19% of service providers said they were impacted by claims about the security of Chinese-made products, according to the DroneAnalyst 2020 Drone Market Sector Report. Because of that, 58% of drone buyers slowed or paused their purchases, and 42% bought a different product than what they originally intended to buy.

Still, Chinese drone companies make up 77% of the overall drone market, and the DJI market share remains huge. The next largest countries contributing to the drone market share are France (which is home to Parrot) and the U.S. But those two countries each make up just below 7% of the overall market share.

American drone companies collectively increased their market share in 2019 from 2018. That’s thanks to companies like Skydio, which recently launched its Skydio 2 follow-me drone.

The data in this piece was generated by the DroneAnalyst 2020 Drone Market Sector Report, which was based on an online survey that garnered over 1,300 respondents, representing 39 industries across 110 countries. You can view the entire report (as well as a number of other Drone Analyst reports) here.

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