Survey Snapshot: Spain’s Drone Market

Ed Alvarado
November 5, 2023
6 min. read
Note: The following information about drone companies in Spain is based exclusively on data from our latest drone industry survey and is not a comprehensive drone market study. Therefore, it should be interpreted as a glimpse into the Spain drone market rather than in-depth authoritative research. For a more thorough study, please contact info@droneii.com

Spain’s drone market is blossoming. The use of drones in Spain today ranges from lifeguard drones in Valencia, to a recent drone show over Madrid, and the implementation of inventory drones in Ikea, as well as drones serviced in security, police use, and delivery among dozens of other applications. Regardless of where Spain stands in other topics within Europe, the country has not missed a step when it comes to drone technology and will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the course of the coming year(s). As the next article in our country series, here is a look at the landscape of drone companies in Spain and what they think/do.

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Originally published: November 2023

Opportunity for Drones in Spain

Spain, a country located in southwestern Europe, has a population of 47.22 million and an area of 505,370 km², Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe. The country’s economy is the 16th largest in the world in terms of Real GDP (US$1,798 billion). In recent years, Spain has also shown great potential in the drone market, with a growing number of businesses taking advantage of the opportunities to use drones in a variety of contexts.

 

According to the CIA World Fact Book, Spain’s land use is 54.1% agricultural, which provides a fantastic opportunity for one of the top 3 industries for drone applications. Spain is also subject to some natural hazards such as droughts and flooding. As devastating as these can be, drone mapping can be used to analyze land and predict the potential impact of natural disasters, and rescue drones can also help for tactical search and rescue as well as emergency kit delivery services in the aftermath of floods. The latter is similar to the aforementioned lifeguard drones in Valencia, which already has fantastic potential in Spain given the country’s almost 5,000 km of coastline.

 

* All country data from the CIA World Factbook

Spain Drone Market Composition

If Spain’s drone market consisted of 10 drone companies, almost 8 of these companies (77%) would have 50 employees or less. In other words, the Spanish drone ecosystem is very much driven by small companies. Nevertheless, 10% of drone companies in Spain employ over 1,000 employees, meaning that there are still some large companies operating alongside a plethora of smaller ones.

 

Much like other countries, the drone industry here is very service-oriented, with 39% of drone companies in Spain serving as DSPs. Considering the headlines referenced in the introduction, it should be no surprise that drone technology has managed to penetrate all sorts of industries and offer plenty of drone services in Spain. Spain’s second most common type of drone company are those that provide Drone Training & Education (14%). This large market segment provides a very promising sign for the future of well-trained drone operators in the country. And this also complements the high number of testing centers and areas in Spain where other European entities come to test their drone solutions.

 

Beyond these top categories, there is a high variety of drone businesses in Spain, including Hardware Manufacturers (8%), Engineering & Integration (8%) that customize drones for specific tasks, Business Internal Services (6%) such as the aforementioned use case by Ikea, and Components & Systems (6%) providers that complement its Engineering & Integration sector. The “Other” category consists largely of a lot of research centers, testing sites, and consulting companies.

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Priorities and Challenges for Drone Companies in Spain

The priorities in the Spanish drone market are headed by Marketing & Sales, which continues to emerge globally as the key priority for the drone industry as a whole. This is likely due to the need for good marketing to highlight the unique and not-always-widespread benefits of adopting drone technology instead of traditional methods. Software development was ranked as the second-highest priority, which serves as a good complement to the aforementioned large segment of hardware manufacturers. Lastly, Staff Development was ranked third and is likely to be well-served by a Spanish market that is strongly equipped with Drone Training & Education services.

 

When it comes to the challenges, drone companies in Spain expressed concerns over issues that affect the industry at a global scale, including regulation and public awareness/acceptance. However, when asked to rank the top issues, it was inflation that was ranked as the biggest challenge for the Spanish drone market. Although this may have started changing over the course of 2023 thanks to rising interest rates, it nevertheless shows the deep impact that a general issue like inflation can have in such a niche industry like drone markets.

 

Politics, both national and international, represents the next challenge for Spain’s drone market. Domestic politics was ranked as the second biggest challenge, and this could be due to a variety of reasons including [perceived] corruption, its impact on [stalling] regulatory progress, and possibly even a “politicized” culture that engenders competition rather than collaboration. Interestingly, more than a couple of companies expressed concerns about piracy and/or cheap and underpriced competition affecting the market.

 

Meanwhile, on the international plane, geopolitics (ranked 3rd) is perhaps an understandable concern for a country that is caught roughly at the center of the USA and China (geographically), in the middle of continental negotiations (as a member of the European Union), and with almost an entire continent as a potential trade partner given their common language (South America). However, it is worth noting that a deeper analysis of the topic of national and international politics would be required before drawing any concrete conclusion about the cause for these two being listed as two of the top three challenges.

Spanish Drones: the Grass Gets Greener in 2024

As for the coming year, drone companies in Spain are slightly more optimistic than the global average (6.76 vs 6.6). And they certainly perceive that the next 12 months will be better than the past 12 months (6.76 vs 5.5). This is certainly a good sign and suggests that the challenges listed above are not perceived as existential threats or even likely to make things worse than they currently are.

On the contrary, the high level of optimism from one year to the next and in comparison, to the rest of the world suggests that Spain’s drone market could have a very positive 2024. This optimism will also likely gain momentum over the course of the year thanks to various drone events in Spain such as UNVEX, Expodronica, Drone Future, and even the Mobile World Congress which often features drone technology despite its broader scope. So, all things considered, Spain’s drone market will be worth keeping an eye on by drone experts in Europe and beyond.

Stay tuned as we continue to feature more countries and regions with unique and exclusive data from our annual Drone Industry Survey. If you are interested in learning more about the global drone market, you can find detailed data by sector, industry, method, region, and country in our flagship Drone Market Report.

 

And if you are interested in all the ins and outs of a particular region or country, including information on individual companies, you can contact us to discuss a comprehensive drone market study. Please contact info@droneii.com with the subject “Customized Drone Market Research”.
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Our Infographic about drone companies in Spain shows a market breakdown of what drone companies do, their size, top priorities and challenges. It also features an optimism meter comparing drones in Spain with the rest of the world.

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