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Saturday, February 4, 2023

The top drone maker of 2022 is DJI (but others might surprise you)


To probably no one’s surprise, the top drone maker of 2022 is DJI. But in a ranking of the biggest drone makers this year, some of the other names might come as a surprise.

German-based drone analytics group Drone Industry Insights put together a ranking of the biggest drone manufacturing companies in 2022 to find out which ones are the biggest. To build the list, DII analyzed about 500 global companies whose core business is building drone hardware. And this year’s results were a bit different.

“This ranking is traditionally dominated by DJI, but with major allegations against the company about data privacy, there has been an unprecedented opportunity for more companies to penetrate the US market (one of the largest drone markets),” according to a statement from Drone Industry Insights.

Here’s an infographic generated by DII showing the top drone maker of 2022, broken down by the five largest civil drone manufacturers as well as the five largest dual-use drone manufacturers (click the chart to be redirected to DII’s website, where you can download a full-size version):

Note that the percentage points listed above are not market share (alas, DJI does not have an 100% market share). Instead, those figures represent an internal metric designed by DII to stack rank drone companies. So based on Droneii’s company ranking model, DJI is 78 points ahead against the second-place French company Parrot. Though when looking at Parrot and on, the race gets much closer, with Skydio, maker of the famous follow-me drones, not far behind. But DII’s internal metric proves that DJI is unquestionably the biggest, with the competitors paling in comparison.

The gap is much smaller on the dual-use side. Second-place company Insitu is just 3 points behind AeroVironment, which is not much.

Besides visualizing the size of the biggest drone makers, DII’s data also sheds some other interesting insights, particularly around where the other companies are located:

  • The list of top drone makers of 2022 is dominated by companies in the U.S. or China: Of all the companies in DII’s full rankings, a combined 17 companies come from either the U.S. or China.
    • Three of the top 5 civil companies are based in China, and another 3 enter the rankings in later spots within the top 20.
  • Geographic diversity is growing: 2022’s list had 11 new entries making the top 20 rankings, coming from Japan, France, the USA, Germany, and Denmark.
    • European companies from Switzerland and Germany feature especially prominently among civil drone companies.
  • The U.S. dominates the list of dual-use drone manufacturers: The 3 biggest manufacturing companies for commercial and government drones are all based in the U.S., and another 4 companies also feature in the top 20.
    • Despite American manufacturers taking 7 of 20 spots in the ranking, DII’s list also features companies from India, Ukraine, Estonia, Denmark, and Slovenia.

DII’s survey of the top drone makers of 2022 follows another report ranking the top drone service providers of 2022 as well as the biggest drone delivery companies of 2022 here. For a broader view of all the potential drone companies out there, DII also puts out a drone market map. The 2022 drone market map lists more than 1,000 drone companies — and it’s pretty epic.

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