• How will Changing Customer Preferences Drive Growth for Global Commercial Drone Last-mile Deliveries?
    Global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from businesses and governments drive transformational growth

    Research Overview

    The purpose of this study is to highlight recent developments and growth opportunities for commercial drones used in the last-mile delivery market, on a global scale—from a platform and services basis. The current market size of drone platforms for last-mile delivery is 207.5 million, with most drone deliveries carried out by drone service providers (DSPs) that develop their own platforms. Moreover, as countries continue to ease restrictions for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations, demand for drone delivery platforms will increase. By 2025, an approximate 2.2 million delivery drones will be operating in the global eCommerce space. The regions that contribute to a majority of the last-mile drone delivery market are the United States, Europe, and China.

    Thanks to the public use of drones for the delivery of critical medical goods during the pandemic, customers will be more open to the idea of receiving online purchases by drones. Changes in customer preferences about delivery times will represent an important driver for growth in the drone delivery landscape as well, as drones can reduce delivery times and costs for delivery operators significantly. Additionally, finding ways to address congestion and carbon emissions in urban areas will be among the main factors driving demand for business-to-consumer (B2C) drone deliveries, as drones have a much smaller carbon footprint than delivery trucks. Another important trend comes from the rising expansion of mobile networks worldwide, which will play an important role in enabling long-distance delivery by allowing operators to fly goods to remote areas.

    As is the case with all commercial unmanned aerial system (UAS) applications, a lack of regulations that would enable drone delivery operations at scale is the main challenge to market growth. Currently, most national aviation authorities do not have a proper regulatory framework that allows drone delivery to operate at scale. Another challenge to market growth comes from the high costs involved in operations: commercial drone delivery usually requires specialized teams or additional infrastructure for take-off and landing locations, making the process impractical and too expensive for regular business-to-consumer (B2C) deliveries. Public opinion will remain a restraint to growth until consumers get to observe drone delivery in action, with public trials being a key factor in this process.


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