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Drone Sales Have Tripled in the Last Year

May 25, 2016, 6:17 PM UTC
Flying drone with camera
Photogtaph by Buena Vista Images — Getty Images

Despite its relatively recent introduction to the public, drones have gained a rapidly growing fanbase that expected to only multiply in coming years.

According to a Wednesday report from retail research firm the NPD group, sales of drones have more than tripled over the last year to about $200 million. The NPD accounted for the twelve months ending in April.

That’s over $550 per drone, though the actual price tag varies widely given the flying machines’ wide range of uses, including photography, racing, and even search and rescue. And as inventors and laymen get even more creative, uses for drones are expected to get even more diverse, with the machines being developed for farming and even snack delivery.

“The drone category is continuing to take shape as new products and features such as 4K cameras, Bluetooth and built-in GPS, reveal an expanding range of use cases. The market is maturing in that respect,” Ben Arnold, executive director and industry analyst for The NPD Group said in a prepared statement. “The continued interest around unmanned aerial systems and an expanding retail footprint point to a strong 2016 and 2017 as a result.”


Drones are also becoming an increasingly common holiday purchase, with sales jumping 445% in the 2015 holiday season.

Sales are expected to grow from 2.5 million drones in 2016 to 7 million in 2020—a 180% increase, according to a report from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NPD group’s research also suggests that users tend to be more seasoned drone flyers, with 56% of people buying drones costing $500 or more.