Move over, Tickle Me Elmo. This year’s hot holiday item is the drone. According to a story at CNBC.com, roughly 700,000 drones are expected to ship in the U.S. this year, up 63 percent from 2014.
French drone manufacturer Parrot, who has a partnership with Apple, Sprint, and Best Buy, started selling its devices in Target and AT&T this year and sales are rolling in. In the fourth quarter of last year, Parrot had retail drone sales of $37 million and this year their shares have jumped 85 percent. Last month, the company rolled out a new “toy” drone line, which includes the Hydrofoil, Race models, and Airborne Cargo. The Hydrofoil can detach from its floating base to fly, while the Race models have a camera and move on wheels. The Airborne Cargo can haul building blocks and other small objects. Each of the models cost about $200 or less.
Another producer, China-based DJI, says that while it markets its devices – which retail between $500 and $1,250 – to serious photographers, they expect very positive holiday sales.
While some complicated drone models can sell for $1,000 or more, industry experts expect the average wholesale price point to be about $150 on drones shipped this year.
Other retailers, such as Wal-Mart, have seen a strong demand for toys that function like drones, according to the article. A remote-controlled version of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars retails for about $90 on the company’s website.
RIT wants to know: Will you be buying a drone this holiday season?