Parrot saw a big bump in drone sales between its first quarter for 2015, and the same period last year – there was a 356 percent increase in revenue derived from the category between those two measurement spans, with consumer drones leading the big increase with 483 percent revenue growth. Pro drones, like Parrot’s eBee Ag agricultural model, also saw revenues rise 164 percent overall.
These are huge increases in a particular category that has benefited from being in the limelight, as major players like Amazon continue to pursue their efforts to make delivery drones a reality, and as domestic players like Skycatch continue to help push the issue of commercial drone regulation forward at home in the U.S.
Increased attention for how drones might be used in commercial settings are clearly helping raise consumer consciousness when it comes to the category, too, as evidenced not just by these numbers, but also by the entry of new players to the market, and the acceleration of the frequency of product releases from established companies like Parrot, as well as DJI and others.
Parrot’s numbers need to be taken in context, of course; The increase for the consumer segment was from € 7.6 million in Q1 2014, to € 34.6 million in Q1 2015, so we’re not talking about the kind of numbers driven by the industry-leading smartphones. But that percentage increase is still incredibly steep, and if the pace of growth keeps up, consumer drones could become a significant product category very quickly.
As a result of the success of its consumer drone push, which included the launch of low-cost, fun entry-level devices like the Parrot Rolling Sumo and Jumping Spider, the company said in its earnings that it will be pursuing accelerated R&D efforts in that area in order to capitalize and stay competitive in the increasingly crowded market. The company also cites the Bebop’s launch late last year as a key ingredient in its sales success.
Parrot’s ability to target the low end of the category with drones that have unique abilities vs. the standard quadcopter consumer form factor could help it stand out from the fray.