It is time for our other flagship company ranking: the best drone manufacturing companies. While it is true that the global drone market continues to be led by drone services, the companies that produce drones are nevertheless a very important component. Drone manufacturers continue to innovate the way their drones are produced, and as they improve the capacities and technologies of their drones, they also enable newer and better services.
Originally published: December 2022
The USA and China. Perhaps one of the most evident patterns in both rankings is the fact that they are dominated by American and Chinese companies. There is a combined total of 17 companies in both rankings that are based in either the USA or China. As two of the most active global markets in terms of overall trade, they have also managed to take a large share of the commercial drone market. Naturally, the size of their military budgets also has a noticeable impact on the dual-use manufacturer ranking in particular.
Geographic Diversity. There are 11 new entries in both top 20 rankings [combined], coming from Japan, France, the USA, Germany, and Denmark. In total, 14 countries are represented among the rankings for best drone manufacturing companies: Brazil, Estonia, India, Israel, and Ukraine. This means that despite the dominance of the USA and China, there are plenty of very good drone manufacturing companies around the globe.
At the top of the best drone manufacturing companies, we find DJI, which despite controversies in the US continues to dominate the global commercial drone market. Based on Droneii’s company ranking model, it enjoys a gap of 78 points against the second-place French company Parrot. It is worth stressing that the infographic shows percentage points based on our internal metric and should not be confused with market share. After first place, the race gets much closer between the best drone manufacturing companies for civil use.
There are only 6 points separating second place Parrot from fifth place JOUAV, and Skydio barely managed to surpass XAG on our ranking despite having the same 18 points (thanks to slightly stronger company development and public interest). Beyond the top 5, European companies from Switzerland and Germany also feature prominently among the best drone manufacturing companies, however, one thing that is nevertheless evident is the strong presence of Chinese companies.
Three of the top 5 companies are based in China, and another 3 enter the rankings in later spots within the top 20. But there have now been allegations about data privacy against Chinese companies (particularly DJI) during two US administrations. Though we have covered this issue before and it did not have a large impact on DJI’s market share, it remains to be seen if the repeated accusations will have a long-term effect on Chinese companies’ market performance.
In the same way that Chinese companies dominate the civil drone rankings, American companies supersede all other countries when it comes to dual-use drones. The 3 best drone manufacturing companies for commercial and government drones are all based in the US, and another 4 companies also feature in the top 20. Moreover, the race between the top 5 spots is much closer in this ranking than it is in the civil drone space.
There are 3 points separating the winner AeroVironment from second place Insitu, and 13 points separating third place Anduril Industries from second place. Fourth-place Aeronautics and fifth-place Shiebel are also only separated by 5 points on our index, which further evidences the competitiveness in the dual-use drone market. Despite the strong presence of American manufacturers in the ranking (7/20 spots), the 20 best drone manufacturing companies also feature companies from India, Ukraine, Estonia, Denmark, and Slovenia, meaning there is also a lot of geographic diversity.
The Drone Manufacturers Ranking is an assessment of roughly 500 global companies whose core business is building drone hardware. The report also comes with a comprehensive database of over 500+ [unranked] companies, including company information such as website, headquarters location, and Linkedin page. As with all our drone company rankings, we update the data each and every year, and there is a lot of activity happening throughout the rankings beyond the top spots.
The rankings strive for objective and verifiable data, and we are happy to hear from all companies that want to help us update the data for next year’s ranking of the best drone service providers around the globe.
Ed Alvarado holds a Master’s in International Relations, Bachelor’s in Economics & Philosophy, and has lived in 7 countries.