Worldwide shipments of enterprise drones are set to grow by 50% in 2020, according to research released today by Gartner.

Enterprise drones are now being used across a wide selection of industry verticals, with construction, insurance and retail among the biggest users.

According to Gartner, shipments of such drones will increase significantly in 2020, from 351,500 shipments in 2019 to 525,600 in 2020. This will continue to climb further over the next few years, rising to 1.27 million in 2023.

The industries driving a surge in the enterprise drones market

While enterprise drones are already proving popular in a number of industries, construction is by far the biggest user of the technology, with 141,100 shipments in 2019 and a projected rise to 209,800 in 2020 and 509,500 in 2023.

Gartner has characterised the industry as leading the way in using the technology, with applications across the construction process.

“The construction sector is an early adopter of drones, which causes construction monitoring to be the largest use case by shipments worldwide across the forecast,” said Kay Sharpington, principal analyst at Gartner.

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“Drones are taking over tasks such as site surveying and earthworks management as they are faster and safer to carry out with a drone than on foot.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, insurance is the second largest industry, with the vertical also making use of drones’ surveying capabilities. In 2020, 46,400 drones are projected to be shipped to insurance companies, rising to 135,800 in 2023.

“Drones are used to carry out inspections on buildings and structures after a claim has been made, to assess the extent and cause of the damage. They can also be used to evaluate the type and condition of the building when providing an insurance quote,” said Sharpington.

“Their benefits are valuable. For example, they reduce the cost of scaffolding, ladders and employee time and provide a comprehensive photographic record of the building condition.”

Government agencies including police and fire and rescue are also increasingly making use of drones due to their safety benefits, accounting for some of the biggest remaining industries.

However, beyond 2023 it is the retail sector where Gartner sees the most potential, with the field projected to rise from 12,900 shipments in 2019 to 122,000 in 2023.

Read more: Future of drones in business: How could UAVs shape industry?