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UK Drone Report Highlights Pilot Demographics


While the legislative landscapes around the world differ in relation to drones and their use, it’s probably fair to say that the demographics of pilots are fairly similar across the board. Today some interesting research has been released by UK distributor DronesDirect. Among the headlines are the fact that the age group most likely to own a drone is the 55+ category. 

We can all argue about the extent to which drones are transforming industries. But, if recent research is to be believed, there’s no arguing that the technology is also helping to break age-related stereotypes. One of the most common is that the older you get, the more tech-phobic you become. For some reason, drone pilots are bucking that trend.

In contrast to other mainstream tech devices, Rather than being dominated by youngsters, the majority of drone users in the UK (31%) are aged 55 and over, compared to just 10% of users in the 18-24 category. Those aged 45-54 are the age group that is next most likely to own a drone (28%), while just 12% of 25-34 year-olds are drone pilots. One in five 35-44 year olds say they own a drone.

Taking Tech Outdoors

drone pilot demographics report in the uk

Drones differ from the majority of other gadgets on the market, in that they can only really be enjoyed outdoors. That explains why pilots confound common preconceptions about technology enthusiasts and like to get outside.

According to the DronesDirect report, the 60% of drone users are also keen photographers, and 45% would rather go hiking or on a walk in their spare time when not using a drone.

And what about the spectre of drone racing, the futuristic sport that’s inspired million-dollar international broadcasting deals already? Well, although it’s a hobby growing in popularity, the report suggests that it’s something just 6% of drone pilots in the UK actually do.

The Gender Divide

If there’s one area in which drone pilots do tick the stereotype box, it’s in terms of gender. According to the report, the vast majority of UK drone pilots (96%) are male. Considering the much more balanced nature of photography as a hobby, this huge disparity is a little surprising.

How Much Do Drone Pilots Spend?

Even within the consumer market, the price of drones varies dramatically. And to an extent you get what you pay for. But how much are UK pilots willing to spend on a drone? According to the report:

Drone users are happy to invest in their hobby and while most (12%) are planning to spend between £300 – £500 on their next drone, one in 10 are prepared to spend as much as £1,100. Another 10% say they would expect to spend between £150 and £300 on a drone in the future.

When it comes to monthly spend on their hobby, the majority of drone users (60%) would expect to spend as much as £99 a month. More than one in 10 (12%) say they would spend between £100 and £200 on a monthly basis to enjoy their hobby.

More than half of drone users (54%) own just the one drone, while nearly a quarter (24%) own two of the devices. Nearly one in 10 (9%) own three drones but very few people own more than that, with just 5% owning four.

Here are the highlights of the report

  • Most drone users (68%) use their drone for entertainment purposes (e.g. flying in the park etc).
  • 63% use their drone for videography.
  • 60% of drone users cite photography as one of their hobbies.
  • 70% of drone users have used the technology to capture amateur photography and videos.
  • The vast majority (80%) of drone users in the UK are aware of the Dronesafe.uk “Drone Code” rules and regulations.
  • 47% of users say they always abide by the Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines on drone usage.
  • 40% of drone users are aware that their photography and video footage is subject to the Data Protection Act.
  • The majority of drone users (65%) would be willing to have their device electronically registered.
  • 61% of people think the introduction of a drone flying safety exam would increase safe usage.
  • Nearly half of consumers (49%) would use a drone delivery service in the future.

Again, some of these findings will stretch across international borders better than others. UK pilots’ willingness to have their device registered (65%) probably sits higher than that number for their US counterparts, for example.

But it’s certainly an interesting look at how the pilot demographics are shaping up. Take a look at the report for yourself, here.

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation.
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