The worldwide market for consumer drones has taken off, and the United States is in the lead but Europe is nipping at America's lead and China's market is surging, according to a marketing giant.

In 2015, world sales hit 4.3 million, worth about $1.7 billion. That is a 167 percent jump in sales in just two years.

 

According to the marketing and investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the U.S. owns 35 percent of the drone market followed by Europe at 30 percent, and China at 15 percent.

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The firm noted that drones have endless industrial uses by farmers, builders, inspectors and even miners.

 

And a new analysis by the firm found that government regulators are opening the door for greater use. Washington, for example, has issued commercial drone permits to some 400 firms.

 

However, the U.S. ranks sixth in government support for commercial drone use, behind Britain, France, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.