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What drives drone purchases?

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Operators admit price isn’t the primary factor to consider.

There are many factors that come into play when deciding whether to purchase a drone. What are the biggest drivers that fuel that decision? Drone Analyst recently surveyed 1,300 users on the topic and found that while price is important, it didn’t top the list.

Instead, reliability and flight time were the top two responses. Price was the third-most important factor, according to survey respondents, with brand trust and flight automation capabilities rounding out the top five.

Brand trust has provided some interesting wrinkles lately. DJI is the runaway market leader, but last December, the U.S. government put the Chinese manufacturer on its restricted trade list.

“While it’s not entirely clear why exactly DJI was added to the list, some have suggested that it was DJI’s reported work for the Chinese government, while others have suggested DJI is involved in potential human rights violations,” according to Sally French, creator of The Drone Girl blog.

But those looking for an American-made alternative may face some challenges, writes Drone Analyst’s head of research, David Benowitz.

“The state of competitors means that customers’ second or third choice are often younger companies with unproven capabilities,” he notes.

Investment in this agtech is nonetheless expected to rise this year. A DroneDeploy survey showed 88% of respondents intend to maintain or increase spending in 2021.

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