photo aerial of catamaran at anchor

Britons will be grounding their selfie sticks this summer in favour of using drones to record images and films of their holidays.

A new study has found that 392,330 Britons are planning to pack the flying devices in their luggage.

Tim Morley, business unit manager at DronesDirect.co.uk said “Our research is showing that the flying gadgets will be cropping up at holiday hotspots worldwide, replacing the selfie stick as this summer’s must-have travel accessory. Social media is proving a fantastic catalyst for new photography crazes, and with drones having the ability to provide new and previously unseen angles of natural landscapes and areas of interest, it’s no wonder that many are taking them
on holiday.”

The growth of this craze is reflected on social media sites with the popular #dronestagram hashtag having been added to 261,000 posts on Instagram.  Meanwhile, aerial photography drone Instagram accounts such as @droneoftheday and @fromwhereidrone currently boast 104,000 and 49,400 followers respectively.

Morley added: “It is important that those travelling with their drones familiarise themselves with privacy, flying, and data protection laws before travelling abroad. Different countries and regions have different drone guidelines and laws, and it is imperative that legal and responsible flying practices are followed at all times.”

The full UK Drone Usage Report 2016 can be found online here.

age of owners chart from dronesdirect.co.uk 2016 Usage Report
Chart from dronesdirect.co.uk 2016 Usage Report
I find the chart to the left to be absolutely fascinating because it is so counter-intuitive. Think about it – half the drone owners surveyed are 45 or older. It is certainly a very different demographic from the “follow-me” extreme sports dude that consumer drone manufacturers delight in targeting.
Another chart reveals that nearly 2/3rd of the respondents spend at least US$45/month on their hobby, and 20% of them spend at least $100/month – that’s more than a grand a year. That suggests someone who wants the latest kit and also perhaps crashes regularly.
Still another chart shows that 50% fly at least once a week. That suggests that most of them are allocating weekend time to their passion.
DronesDirect notes that there were 275 respondents to their surveys which to be sure is pretty thin. Certainly nothing to get anywhere near the level of precision implied by392,330 in the headline. Still the people that they found to survey represent an older, seemingly more affluent crowd than we are generally led to believe…
75% of respondents use their drones for video and photography which lines up to what we are used to seeing for consumer drone usage.  This supports Ben Arnold, the executive director of The NPD Group’s contention that drones are one of the bright spots in the otherwise largely moribund consumer camera category. I have not seen the equivalent of this research for the US market, but to the extent UK consumer patterns can be projected to US consumers, it would seem to be good news
for retailers.
And while it’s hard to say from this data, it may be that we are seeing the birth of a nascent drone destination tourism industry as was suggested in this article in Men’s Journal. Think of it – you and your drone arrive somewhere on your photographic bucket list. Your permits are in place, there is a local guide who flys to drive you around, and your meals and accommodations are planned just like a bike tour or a safari. Could be quite fun.

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