Market Overview

  • The commercial satellite imaging market was valued at USD 4.53 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 8.37 billion by 2025 during the forecast period (2020 - 2025). Satellite imaging has surpassed the use of terrestrial and aerial imagery by overcoming the limitation of geographical reaches, owing to its comprehensive coverage of the world and quick delivery of image data.
  • The various applications of satellite-based imaging include navigation, mapping and GIS, geo-marketing and advertising, emergency and safety, enterprise applications, sports, augmented reality/games, mHealth, personal tracking, and social networking. All these applications are being tailor-made to satisfy the different needs and usage conditions. The rise of context-aware applications augmented reality apps and the increasing number of shipments of devices, with location-based services, are expected to further augment the market’s growth during the forecast period.
  • Aerial and terrestrial mapping or imaging solutions pose a significant challenge to the growth of the market studied, as they provide a higher resolution than satellite imaging. In addition, the incapability of satellites to work in adverse weather conditions, such as fog, cloud cover, and snow, also restricts the market’s growth. Aerial imaging can be carried out under cloud cover, with minor corrections to be applied post-processing. This guarantees cloud-free data delivery. Due to the low-altitude acquisition, aerial data does not suffer from atmospheric effects, which can impact the quality of the data in satellite imagery.
  • The government’s investments in satellite imaging are poised to ensure that a wide range of Australian industries has access to data, thereby, helping it to mold its investments, create jobs in target regions, and increase competitiveness. The booming digital economy of Australia is expected to benefit the developed sectors, such as mining, transport, construction, aviation, and agriculture.

Scope of the Report

Commercial satellite imaging refers to the scanning of the Earth using a satellite or high-flying aircraft to obtain geo-referenced data. Satellite imaging is widely being used in various applications of defense, which has been the largest application area, globally.

Key Market Trends

Military and Defense Segment is Expected to Account for a Significant Share

  • Military and defense applications are the largest end-user segments of commercial satellite imaging. The military and defense segment accounted for a share of over 40% of the market studied, as of 2017. The growth of the segment can be mainly attributed to security and surveillance applications, which are the core functionalities of any defense organization.
  • A case in point is that of Afghanistan. After 9/11, the US government did not legislate the high-resolution Ikonos satellite out of taking or releasing images of Afghanistan. Instead, all the exclusive rights of Afghanistan’s spatial data were bought by the US government, making it impossible for other countries to use commercial US imagery to survey the area.
  • As of 2017, only 16 satellite launches across the world have been categorized for military operations, whereas, about 219 satellites were launched in the commercial domain. Out of all the satellites launched in the military domain, more than 43% were found to be earth/space observation satellites, whereas, more than 75% of the satellites in the commercial domain were identified as earth observation/space observation satellites (UCS Satellite Database).
  • Over the forecast period, increasing regulations and bills (like the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017, which is expected to be passed during the forecast period to provide faster licensing timeline to imaging companies) are likely to augment the quality of commercially available spatial data, thereby, boosting the growth of the military and defense segment.

The North American Region is Expected to Account for the Largest Share

  • North America is expected to dominate the market studied during the forecast period, due to the highest number of researches and investments in the market, the presence of sophisticated infrastructure to undertake space programs, and the earliest and highest adoption of commercial satellite imaging across various industries in the region.
  • Due to strong support from the federal government regarding grants to academic institutions and companies, in order to develop highly advanced satellite imaging devices, the market studied is estimated to expand further in the region.
  • According to the Satellite Industry Association, the United States generated USD 110 billion in revenue from the satellite industry in 2016. This growth is estimated to continue, due to an increase in investments and applications of satellite industry services in other sectors.
  • The region is also actively innovating new applications for satellite imaging to solve real-life problems.

Competitive Landscape

  • The market is moderately fragmented, with moderate competitive rivalry. Companies operating in the market studied are players engaged in providing satellite-based imagery or solutions based on the imagery.
  • Competition among players in the market studied is increasing, due to the competitive strategies adopted by them. These companies strive to develop better features in their solutions, in order to gain a competitive edge in the market studied.
  • Two of the key players in the industry are DigitalGlobe Inc. and Galileo Group Inc. Some of the key developments in the commercial satellite imaging market include:
  • Planet Labs Inc. signed a deal with the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), an agency under Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology, to offer satellite imagery, for enabling frequent monitoring of the country. This is likely to compel other countries to utilize the company’s services, thereby, boosting its growth.
  • Harris Corporation secured a contract from the US Air Force to provide engineering support services for the electronic warfare (EW) systems, which are onboard the international variant of F-16. The contract was awarded during the second quarter of Harris’ financial year 2018. The company is expected to provide software updates and engineering support for its AN/ALQ-211(V) 4/8/9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) systems that protect the fleets of F-16s from eight other countries, against evolving electronic threats.

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