Small Drones Market worth $10.4 billion by 2030


CHICAGO, Feb. 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The small drones market is projected to grow from USD 5.8 billion in 2023 to USD 10.4 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2023 to 2030 according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets™. The market growth can be attributed to the growing demand for small patrolling drones for marine border security.

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Small Drones Market Report Scope:

Report Coverage


Market Revenue in 2023

$ 5.8 billion

Estimated Value by 2030

$ 10.4 Billion

Growth Rate

Poised to grow at a CAGR of 8.6%

Market Size Available for


Forecast Period


Forecast Units

Value (USD Million/Billion)

Report Coverage

Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, and Trends

Segments Covered

By Platform, Type, Application, Mode of Operation, Power Source and Region

Geographies Covered

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of World

Key Market Challenge

Possible threats to safety and violation of privacy

Key Market Opportunities

Enhancing Critical Infrastructure Protection and Law Enforcement with Aerial Remote Sensing

Key Market Drivers

Surge in adoption for civil and commercial applications

 The global expansion of the market can be attributed to the growing adoption of small drones in both civil and military applications. Small drones find widespread use in numerous commercial sectors, including photography, product and medicine delivery, 3D mapping, data transmission, as well as inspection and monitoring in confined spaces. They also play crucial roles in industries such as agriculture, real estate, and oil & gas.

In agriculture, the utilization of small drones has led to the emergence of precision farming practices. This technology enables farmers to monitor crop health, oversee irrigation equipment, and identify various types of weeds, among other applications. Furthermore, small drones have become increasingly prevalent in the field of photography. Their user-friendly nature and affordability, with prices often below $550, make them accessible tools for capturing stunning aerial photos and videos utilizing advanced digital techniques.

Drone photography serves a range of purposes, including land-use planning, movie production, environmental studies, archaeology, power line inspection, oil & gas surveying, surveillance, commercial advertising, and artistic projects. Additionally, drones are indispensable for inspecting challenging-to-reach locations, especially at significant altitudes or within contaminated environments.

The application of drones has revolutionized the inspection of telecommunication towers, offering cost-effective and time-efficient solutions. Drones are also instrumental in conducting aerial assessments of buildings and other critical infrastructure, such as pipelines, electrical grids, offshore facilities, and solar panels.

Based on platform, the civil & commercial segment is anticipated to record the highest growth rate during the forecast period.

In terms of platform, the small drone market is divided into two main categories: civil & commercial and defense & government. Within the civil & commercial segment, there are two further subdivisions: micro and small. On the other hand, the defense & government segment is categorized into three subgroups: nano, micro, and mini.

The increasing demand for small drones for use in multiple potential applications in the civil & commercial sector has led to the growth of the small drone market. For instance, drones from ideaForge (India) are used for monitoring the count of wild animals and the illegal poaching activities in forests in India. However, the consumer drones have become popular among prosumers and hobbyists, vloggers, and videographers worldwide. This is because these small drones are cost-effective and offer high-resolution wide-angle photography.

On the other hand, governments around the world are gradually leveraging drones for law enforcement and governance applications, primarily because of their compact size and swift service capabilities. Within the defense sector, drones play a vital role in providing critical battlefield intelligence. In contemporary military operations, armed forces worldwide have reduced their reliance on human scouts for information gathering and have embraced drones. The advantage of drones lies in their ability to operate with near imperceptibility to enemy forces. Drones are instrumental in monitoring enemy forces or specific areas, transmitting video feeds to designated ground stations using GPS technology. These drones are employed in Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations to collect valuable information about potential targets that might otherwise be challenging to detect.

An example of such technology is the WASP drone, developed through collaboration between the US-based AeroVironment and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). WASP is deployed on battlefields to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance activities, enhancing military intelligence capabilities. In a noteworthy incident in July 2022, a drone deployed along Spanish beaches played a life-saving role by rescuing a 14-year-old boy struggling against a powerful ocean current.

Based on application, the commercial segment is estimated to register a large share in the base year.

The small drone market is categorized by application into military, commercial, government & law enforcement, and consumer segments. The use of small drones has been a longstanding practice among defense forces worldwide. However, in recent times, both public and private sector organizations have made substantial investments in the development of new and advanced UAVs tailored to their specific needs. This has led to significant progress in small drone technology, expanding their potential applications in commercial sectors. For instance, in Japan, small drones are utilized for pesticide spraying on farms, while Amazon (US) has ambitious plans to employ small drones for product delivery in the near future. Considerable research and development investments have broadened the scope of small drones, making them applicable in various fields such as mining, surveying, and 3D mapping, as well as in industries like oil & gas exploration and the film industry, among others.

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The Asia Pacific region is projected to be a high growth potential market for small drones during the forecast period.

Asia Pacific is renowned for being a global leader in innovation and technology. Based on percentage revenue growth over a three-year period, it has been the fastest-growing technological company in recent times. South Korea, Malaysia, and China The surge in military spending by nations in the Asia-Pacific area to improve their homeland security and defense capabilities is responsible for the expansion of the small drone industry in that region. Drones have also been used to secure national borders as a result of political unrest in the Asia-Pacific region. This is a critical driver behind the expansion of the small drone industry in the area.

The low-cost production of UAV parts, the growing demand for doorstep delivery, and advancements in UAV technology have all contributed to the notable growth of the small drone market in Asia Pacific. The Asia-Pacific small drone market is expanding thanks in part to the efforts of China, India, Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

The major players in small drones companies include DJI (China), Parrot Drone SAS (France), Israel Aerospace Industry Ltd. (Israel), AeroVironment, Inc. (US), and Lockheed Martin Corporation (US).

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