Stating that drones have become more than toys in this day and age would be a huge understatement. Not only have these unmanned aerial vehicles claimed the number one spot in the hearts of many tech lovers, they also opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities for photographers and vloggers.
Over the last couple of years, drones have developed in a way that no one expected, and we’re not only talking about their popularity. They have been used for a large number of applications, like search and rescue, automated delivery, and the much-debated drone warfare.
Since you are a reader of the DroneBlog, I will assume you are already quite familiar with the utility of drones, so I’ll jump straight to the point, and talk about a company that is responsible for this kind of popularity of drones, the most dominant manufacturer, DJI.
Let’s examine how DJI got into drone business, how they grew to monopolize the market, and what other drone manufacturers are saying about their rampant success.
Birth of a Giant
For us to truly understand just how big DJI is when it comes to the drone market, we have to take a little trip down the memory lane and see when and how did they start with their brilliant business moves.
Approximately 13 years ago, in the Chinese city of Shenzen, DJI was born. And just like with other big companies, its beginnings were humble to say the least. Together with his two classmates, CEO Frank Wang rented a small office, in which they began working on a quadcopter, that was remotely controlled, and which was supposed to be stable enough to take a couple of pictures.
It wasn’t until seven years later that their first big break occurred, with their then latest and greatest Phantom. What separated the original Phantom from its peers wasn’t only its price, which was extremely affordable, but the fact that it was so simple to use.
All of the other drones that were on the market back in the days were pretty tricky to use, and the reason for that is the fact that they were assembled from a various number of parts. When it came to the Phantom, you didn’t have to spend half the day to get it to fly.
The Phantom was praised by many tech companies, and it was even named “favorite tech purchase of 2014.” Ever since then, DJI keeps on growing, innovating and dominating the market, which is impressive, but you’re probably wondering, do they have any competition at all?
From Startup to Empire
As mentioned earlier, ever since their first product, DJI have shown that they’re ready to get into big boys league and compete with the very best. Right now, you can But, sadly, they haven’t struggled that much to take control of the market and dominate for years to come. A few years after Phantom came out, most of its competitors failed, big time.
For example, in 2017, company 3DR stopped manufacturing drones completely. Karma, a drone that was built by GoPro had to been recalled from the market completely because of malfunctioning, but it was re-released again. French company Parrot had to fire over a third of its drone development team.
We can see that many things changed in the drone business and lots of companies crashed after a short period, but there is something that was always constant, DJI’s supremacy.
Even their competitors are aware of that. 3DR’s CEO spoke about this, and he admitted how DJI simply did everything right and that no one is even close to taking number one spot from them in this, multi-billion dollar drone market. He also added that the way they handle their business is simply impeccable. This statement holds particularly true in the retail market, where DJI dominates the most popular drones under 1000 category.
They’re innovative, they know how to expand on the foreign market, which is pretty unusual for a Chinese company and that’s the reason why they’re so successful.
Will DJI Monopolize The Consumer Industry?
Picture credit DJI.com
Now that we’ve gone over the birth and growth of DJI drones, we’re qualified enough to answer the most important question, which is “Will the DJI completely monopolize the market when it comes to the consumer drones?”. And the answer to this question is, well, they’ve already done it to a certain level.
During all these years, DJI has always pushed the boundaries; they’re always adding new technologies to their products, so that’s why their drones are without any doubt the best on the market, and that’s why they currently have absolutely no competition. Even though it seems that their reign will last for some years to come, we can’t say with certainty that they will be able to keep up with this tempo forever.
The reason for that is that the world of technology is very unforgiving, so no matter how successful you currently are, someone new can unexpectedly show up and take away everything for you. That’s why we all have to be patient and find out in the following years if DJI will keep dominating, or they’ll lose the number one spot in the drone business to a new company with better ideas.
Guest post by Ruaan, an electrical engineer from Oslo, Norway. He is the owner and lead author of buybestquadcopter.com, and when not rambling on about drones, he can be seen flying his Phantom 4 around town.