Skydio will no longer be selling drones to consumers.
What does this firstly imply for you?
This modification to the Skydio website’s navigation shows what the firm means by its “sunsetting consumer drone offerings.” Skydio drones can no longer be purchased directly from the company.
Instead, you must use the Contact Sales form if you want to purchase a Skydio drone. A Skydio representative will then get in touch with you to confirm that you are employed by a business or governmental entity before starting a sales dialogue. A final point: Despite Skydio’s strong approach to selling directly to customers through its website, it has also offered drones for sale through third parties like Amazon. Also now unavailable on Amazon is the Skydio 2+. We anticipate that will remain the case moving ahead.
ALREADY OWN A SKYDIO DRONE?
Don’t worry. Skydio says it will continue supporting any owners of its technology, whether you’re a consumer or an enterprise client. We stand by all warranty terms, Skydio Care, and will continue vehicle repairs. Additionally, we will retain inventory of accessories for as long as we can to support the need for replacement batteries, propellers, charging cables, etc.
Here’s what you can expect from Skydio as a current customer:
- Skydio will still support those who own a Skydio drone.
- Skydio will still honor any live warranties.
- Skydio will maintain an inventory of accessories, including replacement batteries, props, and charging cables for now (the statement says it will do so “for as long as we can”—implying that there will eventually be an end to accessibility for this inventory).
WHY SKYDIO IS GETTING OUT OF THE CONSUMER DRONE BUSINESS
Skydio entered the drone market by creating the greatest follow-me drone available. There was a demand for a selfie drone that could follow you without specialized piloting skills when the Skydio R1 was released in 2019. They were cautious. A firm by the name of Lily Robotics earned $34 million in presales in 2017 primarily on the strength of the buzz around a video showcasing a drone that could, uh, do what the R1 actually did when it was released in 2019. But unlike Lily’s drone, which never materialized, the R1 did. Introducing Skydio R1: The Arrival of the Self-Flying Camera
The R1 established Skydio as a leader in the development of autonomous drones that could fly by themselves, enabling users to record extreme sports sequences without having to spend time learning how to fly. Skydio began marketing its drones to businesses in 2020 and released the X2 for enterprise applications. Additionally, the timing was ideal because there was a strong effort among U.S. government agencies to ban DJI drones.
At a time when government organizations and private businesses were beginning to recognize the significant advantages drones could offer for inspection, defense, and other commercial applications, DJI drones were on the outs, at least politically, and Skydio was well-positioned to capitalize on an opening in the market—the need for U.S.-made commercial drones.
After that, Skydio’s business took off, and the company secured significant military contracts, collaborated with Axon to sell to law enforcement, and raised hundreds of millions of dollars in further capital. All of this development resulted in Skydio in 2021 receiving the first billion dollar valuation for a drone business (Skydio is currently valued at $2.2 billion).
It appears that the business has discovered a crucial lesson along the way: it is simply not worth the effort to enter the consumer drone industry. Instead, selling drones to companies and governmental organizations is where the money and new market possibilities are.
That’s not to suggest there isn’t money to be made selling drones directly to consumers; it’s simply that competing with DJI for a share of that market is extremely difficult. Because of DJI’s monopoly, other businesses have attempted to enter the consumer drone industry but failed. Skydio is not the first. 3D Robotics (or 3DR) made a concerted effort to enter the consumer market in 2016. It ultimately failed miserably and changed its focus to creating software for industrial drone applications because it was unable to compete with DJI.
GoPro attempted to introduce the Karma consumer drone in 2018 but failed as well. There are no longer any significant American drone firms concentrating on the consumer market as a result of Skydio’s leaving.