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Who is a typical drone user? New survey offers interesting insights

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A freshly released drone survey from New Zealand provides some fascinating insights into the burgeoning UAV industry of the small Pacific nation while also shedding light on wider industry trends.

The company behind the survey, Airways, is New Zealand’s official air navigation service provider. They conducted their questioning via email and of the 7000 users contacted, 1,442 commercial and recreational operators responded.

While what’s happening in New Zealand does not necessarily represent trends happening in other major drone markets, it is culturally similar to the United States, a close economic trading partner and has comparable drone laws and regulations. When it comes to size, however, there is a colossal difference. While the United States population has around 326.5 million people, New Zealand has just 4.7 million.

Insights into drone ownership in New Zealand

Recreational vs commercial users

Of those that responded – 60 percent were recreational users and 40 percent were commercial operators.

The drone community is dominated by dudes

As with most of the industry globally (and readers of our site), New Zealand drone users are overwhelmingly male. From the survey data, 95 percent of respondents were male with four percent female and one percent non-identifying. Multiple articles and studies from around the globe show that men seem to be a lot more into UAVs than women. Why? The reasons for this are complex – we shall probe into this further in a future article.

Users in NZ skew relatively young and are mostly urban based

Most UAV users in New Zealand live in more densely populated cities. From all users surveyed, the average age was 25.

19 percent of users were under 18 while 8 percent were over 65.

How much do users spend on purchasing their drones?

The average purchase price of drones from the users surveyed was between $1000-2000 NZD ($700-1400 USD)

Typical flying spots for drones?

Most users fly their crafts either at home, in their backyards, or at beaches and parks.

Respondent feedback on drone rules and regulations:
(Users were asked to provide feedback on aspects or rules and regulations that needed to change to better support industry growth in New Zealand)
  • Users wished to see stricter enforcement of operating rules and penalties for non compliance
  • They also wanted a simpler process for gaining approval for flying over landowners’ property in order to fly
  • Some respondents requested the law changes to permit pilot to fly their drones beyond visual line of site

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