Following our Drone Service Provider Ranking 2021 in September, our global Drone Manufacturer Ranking 2021 is now available with optimized evaluation criteria as well as a listing of the world’s best drone manufacturers.
The Drone Manufacturers Ranking report is an assessment of over 500 global companies whose core business is to manufacture drones. They are further classified into the Top 40 commercial drone manufacturers and the Top 20 dual-use drone manufacturers (drones for commercial and governmental use). This year in addition to the global ranking, we introduced the Top 10 best drone manufacturers in different regions. The report also includes a comprehensive database of 500+ drone manufacturers with company information (not ranked). Companies manufacturing drones exclusively for military uses are not listed.
Prosumer Multirotors: The top positions in the ranking are occupied by manufacturers of multirotor drones in the prosumer sector, namely drones with a price of up to $10,000 USD. These companies are already serving a broad market and therefore able to scale their business.
Many niche suppliers: Behind the large market players such as DJI and Parrot Drones, there are companies who either manufacture professional solutions for the most common industries (e.g., Energy, Construction, etc.) or for very specific niche applications.
Military market as financier: the best drone manufacturers in the dual-use segment often show a strong tendency towards the military market. In the past, companies in this sector were often able to conclude contracts worth millions with defense or other governmental ministries.
Industry leader China: China shows its dominance with eleven companies in the top 40 ranking of the world’s commercial drone manufacturers. The dual-use sector is dominated by US drone manufacturers.
#1 DJI: The Chinese manufacturer DJI is the undisputed leader of commercial drone manufacturers and ranks 1st in spite of the accusations of espionage by the U.S. military and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Its ownership of between 70-80% market share in the worldwide commercial sector speaks for itself.
#2 Parrot Drones: Despite difficult years with staff layoffs and continued sales declines, Parrot Drones, as part of the Parrot Group, remains one of the world’s most prominent drone manufacturers. Like many other manufacturers, Parrot is using the opportunity in the U.S. to offer their products to governmental entities (like the U.S. Army or the Defences Innovation Unit) to replace DJI products. Depending on the sales volume, we might see them (and other players) in the dual-use category soon.
#3 XAG: In the 3rd place is another Chinese drone manufacturer. The company initially developed consumer drones but now they focus especially on manufacturing agricultural drones. They started to develop crop-dusting drones in 2013, and by now they own more than half of China’s market for agricultural drones.
Best Commercial Drone Manufacturers per Region
In our full report, we defined six regions which are Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania, and South America. In each region we look at the Top 10 leading commercial drone manufacturers. In line with expectations, China continues to dominate the Asian Top 10 companies. In the Middle East, 7 companies out of 10 are from Israel. The majority of top manufacturers in South America are from Brazil and in North America they are from the US. Eight of 10 the best drone manufacturers in Oceania are from Australia.
#1 AeroVironment: 1st place in the ranking of dual-use drone manufacturers is taken by the American company which also offers drone stocks. This company is a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems and tactical missile systems used by organizations within U.S. department of defense and international allied governments. The company was able to increase its revenues to $395 million USD in the fiscal year 2021.
#2 Insitu: The runner-up, which Boeing acquired in 2008 for a reported purchase price of around $400 million USD, faced some difficulties in 2019 when it had to cut jobs to remain competitive. Nevertheless, with its widely-used military platforms ScanEagle and RQ-21A Blackjack, Insitu is one of the most important and best drone manufacturers worldwide.
#3 Aeronautics: The Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics comes 3rd in the dual-use drone manufacturer ranking. Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems acquired a 50% stake in the company at the end of 2019. Aeronautics is greatly benefiting from their expertise in the fields of surveillance and reconnaissance.
The hardware market is dominated by Chinese companies for commercial drones and US manufacturers for commercial and dual-use drones. In the commercial prosumer market, there is no way around DJI, which can maintain its supremacy in the commercial prosumer market through innovative products and smart strategic partnerships. But there are also other great manufacturers from all over the world which mainly serve niche markets and/or specialize in highly-professional drones. The latter are particularly important for safety-critical and highly-demanding jobs. For more trends and forecasts of the drone market check out the Drone Market Report 2021-2026.
Zahra Lotfi is a market research analyst with a Ph.D. in economics (focus on innovation) and a Master degree in Business Administration (focus on international marketing)