The drone market in India is expected to cross the $1.21 billion mark in 2021. The use of drones for commercial purposes might take some more time. However, once implemented fully, it will revolutionise the logistics sector to unprecedented exponential levels.
Today, eCommerce market in India stands at almost $50 billion mammoth worth and is expected to cross the $110 billion mark by 2025. As the numbers speak for themselves, eCommerce has emerged to be the fastest-growing sector in India. Apart from various reasons for the exponential growth of eCommerce in the country such as an increase in disposable income, ease of doing business, etc., the penetration of the internet deep down the peripheries has maneuvered the expansion. While the augmentation of the internet is already helping eCommerce market in India to expand, drones are ready to take the sector towards its 2.0 era.
Recently, various private entities along with government agencies have successfully tested the use of drones for commercial use. One of the drone-manufacturing firms — Omnipresent Robot Tech tested India’s longest commercial drone flights in Haryana on 3 November. Earlier, leading Indian startups such as Dunzo, Swiggy, and Zomato amongst others were reported testing drones for commercial usages. Such developments indicate irreversible and dynamic changes that are about to happen in the Indian logistics space.
“We successfully completed India’s longest drone flight. We flew the drone for 51 km for one of our pipeline clients HPCL. It was a BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flight. This is a record in India,” said the founder and CEO of Omnipresent Robot Tech, Aakash Sinha.
When almost every industry is expected to get benefit from the implementation of drones, eCommerce will exploit it most to the utmost levels. Reason? eCommerce is all about reducing costs and offering better user experiences. Here, drones will not only cut down the delivery time but the costs as well. This will help players in eCommerce to enhance their conversion rates and will also introduce them to the new markets such as the remote areas which are still not possible through roads.
Even in 2021, many places in India offer flourishing opportunities to the eCommerce industry but are hindered by geographical inaccessibility. In October, a news report claimed that the Prime Minister of India is keen on easy accessibility in rural areas through drones. Reportedly, he asked drone companies to deliver medicines, postal packages, etc., to remote areas.
Drones and eCommerce
Drones can offer immense opportunities to the eCommerce market in India as it is expected to overcome customer delivery challenges such as providing easy doorstep deliveries; provide an opportunity for newcomers to take on the giants through tech-innovations; overhaul traditional supply chain lines cutting fuel prices and times along with other things; enhance better customer satisfaction and experiences due to prompt and hassle-free services.
However, we would like to highlight a few challenges in the implementation of drones for commercial use. For instance, the drones might find it difficult to navigate through narrow lanes and confusing addresses to deliver products —will they be able to deliver to villages where homes are not even market for addresses. Moreover, small players might find it difficult to make use of drones for their businesses due to the high cost involved in the operation of drones. Given the talent India has, we also believe that indigenous drone manufacturers and developers will come across various challenges through their innovations and will provide viable solutions to such problems.
Discussing about the challenges in the delivery market through drones, many drone experts have validated that soon every city will have huge spaces to collect deliveries through drones, which will make inter-state deliveries quicker. Usually the delivery time is at least 2 or 3 days if a customer orders from a different city, if drone delivery centres become a reality in every city, the inter-state delivery will be reduced to less than a day.