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Ranked: The Top 100 Product Searches on Amazon

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Ranked: The Top 100 Product Searches on Amazon

What Products are People Searching for on Amazon?

When it comes to searching for products online, a majority of U.S. shoppers go directly to Amazon. Thanks to this widespread use, product searches on Amazon provide interesting insights into current consumer behavior, including what shoppers have been focusing on in 2020.

Today’s chart uses data from Ahrefs to showcase Amazon’s top 100 U.S. product searches. We’ll also dive into the most popular categories, as well as top keyword searches on a global basis.

Top 100 Amazon Product Searches in the U.S.

Out of the top 100 product searches on Amazon, over half are for electronics.

Nintendo Switch is the most searched product keyword, with approximately one million monthly searches. This makes sense, considering the console’s recent surge in popularity—in March 2020, U.S. sales of the Nintendo Switch more than doubled compared to a year prior.

Here’s a look at the full ranking of all product keywords, by monthly search volume:

RankKeywordSearch VolumeCategory
1nintendo switch1,020,000Electronics
2laptop892,000Electronics
3airpods693,000Electronics
4headphones641,000Electronics
5wireless earbuds571,000Electronics
6ipad565,000Electronics
7game of thrones518,000Media
8fire stick506,000Electronics
9ssd496,000Electronics
10fitbit481,000Electronics
11kindle475,000Electronics
12tv471,000Electronics
13air fryer456,000Home
14bluetooth headphones447,000Electronics
15roku445,000Electronics
16toilet paper422,000Home
17external hard drive412,000Electronics
18instant pot404,000Home
19tablet403,000Electronics
20micro sd card402,000Electronics
21gaming chair392,000Home
22apple watch388,000Electronics
23monitor385,000Electronics
24earbuds376,000Electronics
25ps4370,000Electronics
26alexa362,000Electronics
27paper towels357,000Home
28desk349,000Home
29office chair332,000Home
30ring doorbell322,000Home
31chromebook319,000Electronics
32weighted blanket319,000Home
33gift cards for amazon314,000Misc
34water bottle314,000Home
35backpack312,000Clothing
36hdmi cable306,000Electronics
37lego301,000Misc
38wireless mouse301,000Electronics
39mouse pad299,000Home
40iphone charger287,000Electronics
41bluetooth earbuds284,000Electronics
42hydro flask282,000Home
43echo dot277,000Electronics
44gaming mouse276,000Electronics
45gift card276,000Misc
46switch275,000Electronics
47printer272,000Electronics
48nintendo switch games270,000Electronics
49bluetooth speakers269,000Electronics
50keyboard269,000Electronics
51iphone262,000Electronics
52coffee261,000Food
53aa batteries257,000Misc
54ps4 controller257,000Electronics
55wireless headphones257,000Electronics
56mouse256,000Electronics
57shoes255,000Clothing
58shower curtain255,000Home
59amazon gift cards254,000Misc
60the boys253,000Media
61smart watch249,000Electronics
62cbd oil248,000Misc
63kindle fire247,000Electronics
64led strip lights247,000Electronics
65harry potter246,000Media
66pop socket243,000Misc
67sd card240,000Electronics
68ring238,000Misc
69xbox one controller238,000Electronics
70doctor who237,000Media
71microwave237,000Home
72usb c cable236,000Electronics
73good omens235,000Media
74gaming laptop232,000Electronics
75mattress232,000Home
76prime video231,000Media
77vacuum cleaner229,000Home
78hbo224,000Media
79iphone xr cases222,000Misc
80computer desk216,000Home
81protein powder216,000Food
82socks213,000Clothing
83avengers endgame211,000Media
84echo209,000Electronics
85books207,000Misc
86shoe rack205,000Home
87tv stand203,000Home
88yoga mat203,000Home
89aaa batteries202,000Misc
90computer monitor202,000Electronics
91gaming headset202,000Misc
92blender200,000Home
93dash cam197,000Electronics
94gaming pc197,000Electronics
95luggage196,000Home
96usb hub196,000Electronics
97camera195,000Electronics
98iphone 11 case195,000Misc
99pokemon195,000Media
100projector194,000Electronics

Two different Apple products make the top 10—Airpods and iPad. It’s interesting that Airpods and iPads have their own search term distinctive from their broader categories (wireless headphones and tablets), demonstrating Apple’s strong brand recognition in America.

Of course, Apple is also dominant in the personal tech market more broadly. For instance, iPhones make up 46% of the U.S. smartphone market by number of devices sold.

Top 100 Amazon Product Searches Globally

Like the U.S. top searches, Nintendo Switch comes in at number one worldwide, with over 2 million approximate monthly searches.

RankKeywordSearch VolumeCategory
1nintendo switch2,520,000Electronics
2laptop1,990,000Electronics
3ssd1,780,000Electronics
4kindle1,420,000Electronics
5ps41,420,000Electronics
6airpods1,350,000Electronics
7ipad1,290,000Electronics
8tablet1,150,000Electronics
9iphone1,140,000Electronics
10alexa1,120,000Electronics
11headphones1,110,000Electronics
12game of thrones1,040,000Media
13lego1,020,000Misc
14switch955,000Electronics
15fitbit910,000Electronics
16tv905,000Electronics
17harry potter859,000Media
18xiaomi836,000Electronics
19monitor795,000Electronics
20apple watch703,000Electronics
21iphone 7691,000Electronics
22wireless earbuds687,000Electronics
23iphone x670,000Electronics
24fire stick664,000Electronics
25bluetooth headphones655,000Electronics
26samsung611,000Electronics
27iphone 8606,000Electronics
28iphone xr606,000Electronics
29mouse577,000Electronics
30micro sd card576,000Electronics
31gaming chair574,000Home
32air fryer567,000Home
33echo dot560,000Electronics
34smart watch547,000Electronics
35smartphone545,000Electronics
36external hard drive526,000Electronics
37instant pot516,000Home
38roku514,000Electronics
39star wars512,000Media
40ps4 controller508,000Electronics
41water bottle507,000Home
42keyboard499,000Electronics
43chromebook491,000Electronics
44huawei490,000Electronics
45gaming mouse484,000Electronics
46pokemon483,000Media
47shoes479,000Clothing
48backpack473,000Clothing
49playstation 4472,000Electronics
50earbuds471,000Electronics
51echo467,000Electronics
52toilet paper467,000Home
53smartwatch461,000Electronics
54notebook459,000Electronics
55iphone 11454,000Electronics
56power bank454,000Electronics
57xbox one452,000Electronics
58wireless mouse450,000Electronics
59gaming pc449,000Electronics
60desk443,000Home
61office chair442,000Home
62mouse pad439,000Home
63redmi note 7433,000Electronics
64printer431,000Electronics
65chromecast430,000Electronics
66gaming laptop429,000Electronics
67hdmi cable422,000Electronics
68earphones421,000Electronics
69wireless headphones420,000Electronics
70drone415,000Electronics
71books408,000Misc
72funko pop406,000Misc
73nintendo switch games402,000Electronics
74amazon400,000Misc
75camera398,000Electronics
76gift card396,000Misc
77sd card396,000Electronics
78xbox one controller392,000Electronics
79ps4 games388,000Electronics
80rtx 2060387,000Electronics
81laptops385,000Electronics
82ring doorbell383,000Home
83ipad pro381,000Electronics
84ps4 pro378,000Electronics
85gopro375,000Electronics
86the boys375,000Media
87bluetooth earbuds369,000Electronics
88weighted blanket368,000Home
89windows 10368,000Electronics
90paper towels367,000Home
91avengers endgame366,000Media
92lego star wars362,000Misc
93xiaomi redmi note 7362,000Electronics
94microwave361,000Home
95bluetooth speakers360,000Electronics
96good omens357,000Media
97coffee356,000Food
98nike356,000Clothing
99projector355,000Electronics
100vans355,000Clothing

Interestingly, three different Apple products appear in the top 10 global searches—Airpods, iPad, and iPhone. Additionally, a couple of older iPhone models make the overall ranking—iPhone 7 comes in at 21st place, and iPhone 8 takes the 28th spot.

On the U.S. list, these older iPhone models don’t even make the top 100.

Keyword Category Rankings

When it comes to top-ranking keywords, the electronics category appears to be the most important to Americans. Over half the U.S. top product searches fall under electronics, with the home category in second place.

Here’s a look at the full U.S. category breakdown:

Interestingly, when comparing the order of categories in the U.S versus worldwide, the sections remain mostly the same:

Category# of U.S. Keywords# of Global Keywords
Electronics5170
Home2212
Media97
Misc136
Clothing34
Food21

Like the U.S., electronics comes in at number one worldwide. However, it’s an even larger portion for the global ranking—70 keyword searches on the global list are for electronics.

The home category is more popular in the U.S. than across the globe, with 22 in the U.S. versus 12 worldwide. In America, air fryer is the most popular keyword search under this section—possibly because people were looking for a quick way to make their meals while they were busy playing Animal Crossing on their Switches.

The second most popular U.S. keyword under the home category is toilet paper. Considering the toilet paper shortages in the spring of 2020, this makes sense, as stores began limiting the number of rolls a person could purchase.

What Will 2021 Bring?

Based on the top 100 list, both globally and in the U.S., it’s clear that when searching on Amazon, a majority of consumers are looking for electronics.

However, the specific electronics they’re searching for (such as iPhones and Nintendo Switches), helps to provide some context around the products people are interested in, as well as the particular brands that are currently on everyone’s radar.

Will the Switch get switched out of the top spot in 2021? Because electronics tend to update so frequently, it’s very possible.

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Technology

The World’s Top Car Manufacturers by Market Capitalization

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The World’s Top Car Manufacturers by Market Cap

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

Ever since Apple and other Big Tech companies hit a market capitalization of $1 trillion, many sectors are revving to follow suit—including the automotive industry.

But among those car brands racing to reach this total valuation, some are closer to the finish line than others. This visualization uses data from Yahoo Finance to rank the world’s top car manufacturers by market capitalization.

What could this spell for the future of the automotive industry?

A special hat-tip to Brandon Knoblauch for compiling the original, regularly-updated spreadsheet.

The World’s Top Car Manufacturers

It’s clear one company is pulling far ahead of the pack. In the competition to clinch this coveted title, Tesla is the undoubted favorite so far.

The electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy company first became the world’s most valuable car manufacturer in June 2020, and shows no signs of slowing its trajectory.

RankCompanyMarket Cap (US$B)Country
#1Tesla$795.8🇺🇸 U.S.
#2Toyota$207.5🇯🇵 Japan
#3Volkswagen$96.7🇩🇪 Germany
#4BYD$92.7🇨🇳 China
#5NIO$89.5🇨🇳 China
#6Daimler$72.8🇩🇪 Germany
#7General Motors$71.3🇺🇸 U.S.
#8BMW$54.2🇩🇪 Germany
#9Stellantis$54.2🇳🇱 Netherlands
#10Ferrari$52.5🇮🇹 Italy
#11Honda$46.9🇯🇵 Japan
#12Hyundai$46.8🇰🇷 South Korea
#13SAIC$45.2🇨🇳 China
#14Geely$39.5🇨🇳 China
#15Ford$39.4🇺🇸 U.S.
#16Xpeng$33.9🇨🇳 China
#17Maruti Suzuki$33.1🇮🇳 India
#18Li Auto$29.5🇨🇳 China
#19Suzuki$23.7🇯🇵 Japan
#20Nissan$20.1🇯🇵 Japan
#21Subaru$15.2🇯🇵 Japan
#22Changan$14.6🇨🇳 China
#23Mahindra$13.9🇮🇳 India
#24Renault$12.0🇫🇷 France

All data as of January 15, 2021 (9:30AM PST)

Tesla’s competitive advantage comes as a result of its dedicated emphasis on research and development (R&D). In fact, many of its rivals have admitted that Tesla’s electronics far surpass their own—a teardown revealed that its batteries and AI chips are roughly six years ahead of other industry giants such as Toyota and Volkswagen.

The Green Revolution is Underway

The sheer growth of Tesla may spell the inevitability of a green revolution in the industry. Already, many major brands have followed in the company’s tracks, announcing their own ambitious plans to add more EVs to their vehicle line-ups.

Here’s how a selection of car manufacturers are embracing the electric future:

Toyota: Ranked #2

The second-most valuable car manufacturer in the world, Toyota is steadily ramping up its EV output. In 2020, it produced 10,000 EVs and plans to increase this to 30,000 in 2021.

Through this gradual increase, the company hopes to hit an expected target of 500,000 EVs by 2025. Toyota also aims to debut 10 new models internationally to achieve this goal.

Volkswagen: Ranked #3

By 2025, Volkswagen plans to invest $86 billion into digital and EV technologies. Considering the car manufacturer generates the most gross revenue per second of all automakers, it’s no wonder Volkswagen is looking to the future in order to keep such numbers up.

The company is also well-positioned to ride the wave of a potential consumer shift towards EVs in Europe. In response to the region’s strict emissions targets, Volkswagen upped its planned sales proportions for European hybrid and EV sales from 40% to 60% by 2030.

BYD and Nio: Ranked #4-5

China jumped on the electric bandwagon early. Eager to make its mark as a global leader in the emerging technology of lithium ion batteries (an essential component of any EV), the Chinese government handed out billions of dollars in subsidies—fueling the growths of domestic car manufacturers BYD and Nio alike.

BYD gained the interest and attention of its billionaire backer Warren Buffett, while Nio is China’s response to Tesla and an attempt to capture the EV market locally.

General Motors: Ranked #7

Also with a 2025 target year in mind, General Motors is investing $27 billion into electric and fully autonomous vehicles. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too—the company also hopes to launch 30 new fully electric vehicles by the same year.

One particular factor is giving GM confidence: its new EV battery creations. They will be able to extend the range of its new EVs to 400 miles (644km) on a single charge, at a rate that rivals Tesla’s Model S.

Stellantis: Ranked #9

In a long-anticipated move, Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot S.A. finalized their merger into Stellantis N.V. on January 16, 2021.

With the combined forces and funds of a $52 billion deal, the new Dutch-based car manufacturer hopes to rival bigger brands and race even more quickly towards the electric shift.

Honda: Ranked #11

Speaking of fast-paced races, Honda has decided to bow out of future Formula One (F1) World Championships. As these competitions were usually a way for the company to show off its engineering prowess, the move was a surprising one.

However, there’s a noble reason behind this decision. Honda is choosing instead to focus on its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. To do so, it’ll be shifting its financial resources away from F1 and towards R&D into fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and battery EV (BEV) technologies.

Ford: Ranked #15

Ford knows exactly what its fans want. In that regard, its electrification plans begin with its most popular commercial cars, such as the Mustang Mach-E SUV. This is Ford’s major strategy for attracting new EV buyers, part of a larger $11.5 billion investment agenda into EVs through 2022.

While the car’s specs compare to Tesla’s Model Y, its engineers also drew from the iPhone and Netflix to incorporate an infotainment system and driver profiles to create a truly tech-first specimen.

Speeding into the Horizon

As more and more companies enter the racetrack, EV innovation across the entire industry may power the move to lower overall costs, extend the total range of vehicles, and put any other concerns by potential buyers to rest.

While Tesla is currently in the best position to become the first car manufacturer to reach the $1 trillion milestone, how long will it be for the others to catch up?

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Mapped: Drone Privacy Laws Around the World

By 2025, the global commercial drone market could reach $42.8 billion. With such diverse uses, how do countries navigate drone privacy laws?

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Mapped: Drone Privacy Laws Around the World

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

From Olympic opening ceremonies to public safety, drone applications have come a long way.

In fact, their modern applications are set to almost double the total value of the commercial drone market from $22.5 billion to $42.8 billion between 2020-2025, at a 13.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Naturally, such diverse and complex uses can go quickly awry if not monitored and regulated correctly by governments—yet in some cases, it’s because of governments that drones’ uses border on sinister.

This in-depth map from Surfshark explores the murky guidelines surrounding drone privacy laws around the world, and some case studies of how they’re used in every region.

How Are Drone Privacy Laws Classified?

According to the map researchers, drone and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulations typically fall into one of the following buckets:

  1. Outright ban
  2. Effective ban
  3. Visual line of sight required
    Pilots need to be able to see the drones at all times, and must usually obtain a license or permit
  4. Experimental visual line of sight
    Pilots can let the drone fly outside their field of vision e.g. during a race
  5. Restrictions apply
    Drones need to be registered, and/or additional observers are required
  6. Unrestricted
    When drones are flown around private property and airports, and under 500 feet (150 meters)
  7. No drone-related legislation

Categories are assigned based on legislation as of October 2020.

Clearly, there is some overlap among these categories. They are highly dependent on judgment calls made by specific legal authorities, and change based on what a drone is being used for.

Explore the drone privacy laws in your specific country here:

Country/TerritoryContinentDrone Legal Status (Oct. 2020)
AfghanistanAsiaUnrestricted
AlbaniaEuropeNo drone-related legislation
AlgeriaAfricaOutright ban
AndorraEuropeVisual line of sight required
AngolaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Antigua and BarbudaNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
ArgentinaSouth AmericaUnrestricted
ArmeniaEuropeNo drone-related legislation
ArubaNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
AustraliaOceaniaExperimental visual line of sight
AustriaEuropeUnrestricted
AzerbaijanEuropeVisual line of sight required
Bahamas, TheNorth AmericaUnrestricted
BahrainAsiaNo drone-related legislation
BangladeshAsiaUnrestricted
BarbadosNorth AmericaOutright ban
BelarusEuropeNo drone-related legislation
BelgiumEuropeVisual line of sight required
BelizeNorth AmericaEffective ban
BeninAfricaNo drone-related legislation
BermudaNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
BhutanAsiaEffective ban
BoliviaSouth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEuropeNo drone-related legislation
BotswanaAfricaVisual line of sight required
BrazilSouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
Brunei DarussalamAsiaOutright ban
BulgariaEuropeEffective ban
Burkina FasoAfricaNo drone-related legislation
BurundiAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Cabo VerdeAfricaVisual line of sight required
CambodiaAsiaNo drone-related legislation
CameroonAfricaVisual line of sight required
CanadaNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
Cayman IslandsNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
Central African RepublicAfricaNo drone-related legislation
ChadAfricaUnrestricted
ChileSouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
ChinaAsiaExperimental visual line of sight
ColombiaSouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
ComorosAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Congo, Dem. Rep.AfricaNo drone-related legislation
Congo, Rep.AfricaNo drone-related legislation
Costa RicaNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
Cote d'IvoireAfricaOutright ban
CroatiaEuropeVisual line of sight required
CubaNorth AmericaOutright ban
CuracaoNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
CyprusEuropeVisual line of sight required
Czech RepublicEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
DenmarkEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
DjiboutiAfricaNo drone-related legislation
DominicaNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
Dominican RepublicNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
EcuadorSouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
Egypt, Arab Rep.AfricaEffective ban
El SalvadorNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
Equatorial GuineaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
EritreaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
EstoniaEuropeUnrestricted
EthiopiaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Faroe IslandsEuropeUnrestricted
FijiOceaniaVisual line of sight required
FinlandEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
FranceEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
GabonAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Gambia, TheAfricaNo drone-related legislation
GeorgiaEuropeVisual line of sight required
GermanyEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
GhanaAfricaExperimental visual line of sight
GibraltarEuropeEffective ban
GreeceEuropeUnrestricted
GreenlandNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
GrenadaNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
GuamOceaniaUnrestricted
GuatemalaNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
GuineaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Guinea-BissauAfricaNo drone-related legislation
GuyanaSouth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
HaitiNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
HondurasNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
Hong Kong SAR, ChinaAsiaVisual line of sight required
HungaryEuropeUnrestricted
IcelandEuropeVisual line of sight required
IndiaAsiaVisual line of sight required
IndonesiaAsiaVisual line of sight required
Iran, Islamic Rep.AsiaOutright ban
IraqAsiaOutright ban
IrelandEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
IsraelAsiaVisual line of sight required
ItalyEuropeVisual line of sight required
JamaicaNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
JapanAsiaExperimental visual line of sight
JordanAsiaUnrestricted
KazakhstanEuropeNo drone-related legislation
KenyaAfricaEffective ban
KiribatiOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
Korea, Dem. People’s Rep.AsiaNo drone-related legislation
Korea, Rep.AsiaVisual line of sight required
KosovoEuropeVisual line of sight required
KuwaitAsiaOutright ban
Kyrgyz RepublicAsiaOutright ban
Lao PDRAsiaUnrestricted
LatviaEuropeUnrestricted
LebanonAsiaNo drone-related legislation
LesothoAfricaNo drone-related legislation
LiberiaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
LibyaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
LiechtensteinEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
LithuaniaEuropeVisual line of sight required
LuxembourgEuropeVisual line of sight required
Macao SAR, ChinaAsiaVisual line of sight required
MadagascarAfricaOutright ban
MalawiAfricaVisual line of sight required
MalaysiaAsiaEffective ban
MaldivesAsiaEffective ban
MaliAfricaNo drone-related legislation
MaltaEuropeUnrestricted
Marshall IslandsOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
MauritaniaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
MauritiusAfricaVisual line of sight required
MexicoNorth AmericaVisual line of sight required
Micronesia, Fed. Sts.OceaniaNo drone-related legislation
MoldovaEuropeNo drone-related legislation
MonacoEuropeUnrestricted
MongoliaAsiaNo drone-related legislation
MontenegroEuropeVisual line of sight required
MoroccoAfricaOutright ban
MozambiqueAfricaNo drone-related legislation
MyanmarAsiaEffective ban
NamibiaAfricaVisual line of sight required
NauruOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
NepalAsiaVisual line of sight required
NetherlandsEuropeVisual line of sight required
New CaledoniaOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
New ZealandOceaniaExperimental visual line of sight
NicaraguaNorth AmericaOutright ban
NigerAfricaNo drone-related legislation
NigeriaAfricaEffective ban
North MacedoniaEuropeVisual line of sight required
NorwayEuropeVisual line of sight required
OmanAsiaEffective ban
PakistanAsiaNo drone-related legislation
PalauOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
PanamaNorth AmericaUnrestricted
Papua New GuineaOceaniaVisual line of sight required
ParaguaySouth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
PeruSouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
PhilippinesAsiaVisual line of sight required
PolandEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
PortugalEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
Puerto RicoNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
QatarAsiaUnrestricted
RomaniaEuropeVisual line of sight required
Russian FederationEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
RwandaAfricaExperimental visual line of sight
SamoaOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
San MarinoEuropeNo drone-related legislation
Sao Tome and PrincipeAfricaNo drone-related legislation
Saudi ArabiaAsiaExperimental visual line of sight
SenegalAfricaOutright ban
SerbiaEuropeUnrestricted
SeychellesAfricaVisual line of sight required
Sierra LeoneAfricaNo drone-related legislation
SingaporeAsiaExperimental visual line of sight
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)North AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
Slovak RepublicEuropeVisual line of sight required
SloveniaEuropeOutright ban
Solomon IslandsOceaniaVisual line of sight required
SomaliaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
South AfricaAfricaExperimental visual line of sight
South SudanAfricaNo drone-related legislation
SpainEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
Sri LankaAsiaExperimental visual line of sight
St. Kitts and NevisNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
St. LuciaNorth AmericaUnrestricted
St. Martin (French part)North AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesNorth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
SudanAfricaNo drone-related legislation
SurinameSouth AmericaNo drone-related legislation
SwazilandAfricaVisual line of sight required
SwedenEuropeUnrestricted
SwitzerlandEuropeUnrestricted
Syrian Arab RepublicAsiaOutright ban
TaiwanAsiaVisual line of sight required
TajikistanAsiaNo drone-related legislation
TanzaniaAfricaVisual line of sight required
ThailandAsiaVisual line of sight required
Timor-LesteAsiaNo drone-related legislation
TogoAfricaNo drone-related legislation
TongaOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
Trinidad and TobagoNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
TunisiaAfricaNo drone-related legislation
TurkeyEuropeUnrestricted
TurkmenistanAsiaNo drone-related legislation
Turks and Caicos IslandsNorth AmericaUnrestricted
TuvaluOceaniaNo drone-related legislation
UgandaAfricaExperimental visual line of sight
UkraineEuropeVisual line of sight required
United Arab EmiratesAsiaVisual line of sight required
United KingdomEuropeExperimental visual line of sight
United StatesNorth AmericaExperimental visual line of sight
UruguaySouth AmericaVisual line of sight required
UzbekistanAsiaOutright ban
VanuatuOceaniaVisual line of sight required
Venezuela, RBSouth AmericaUnrestricted
VietnamAsiaUnrestricted
Yemen, Rep.AsiaNo drone-related legislation
ZambiaAfricaVisual line of sight required
ZimbabweAfricaExperimental visual line of sight

So How Are Drones Used Worldwide?

The myriad of drone uses are literally and metaphorically up in the air—while they originated in military needs, drone uses now range from hobbies such as aerial photography to supporting disaster relief.

The following regional maps show privacy laws in closer detail, while also highlighting interesting case studies on how drones are used.

North America

Drone Privacy Laws 820px North America
Click here for the high-resolution version of this graphic.

According to the latest drone numbers, 70.5% of registered U.S. drones are recreational, but these proportions may soon decline in favor of commercial uses. As of December 2020, civilian drones are allowed to fly over populated areas, a step towards fulfilling their potential in package delivery.

Meanwhile, countries like Mexico are beginning to rely on drones to combat crime, with good results. In the city of Ensenada, a single drone’s surveillance patrol resulted in a 10% drop in overall crime rates in 2018. Drones are increasingly being used to monitor illicit activity such as drug trafficking routes.

South America

Drone Privacy Laws 820px South America
Click here for the high-resolution version of this graphic.

Interestingly, the environmental applications of drones come into play in the Amazon rainforest. An indigenous tribe in Brazil is using drones to track levels of deforestation and forest fires—and presenting that data evidence to authorities to urge them to act.

Across the continent, drones are also in place to deliver everything from hospital supplies to life jackets in Chile and El Salvador.

Europe

Drone Privacy Laws 820px Europe
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The first unmanned, radio-controlled aircraft test flight occurred in the United Kingdom in 1917. The Kettering Aerial Target (or “The Bug”) carried 180 pounds of explosives and became the basis for modern missiles.

While Europe has some of the most liberal drone privacy laws today, that doesn’t mean they’re lenient. Even among countries that allow experimental visual lines of sight (such as Finland and Portugal), special permissions are required.

Middle East and Central Asia

Drone Privacy Laws 820px Middle east and central asia
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The military applications of drones persist in this region. Iran was one of the first to use armed drones and continues to do so, while simultaneously banning their public use.

Neighboring Turkey also relies on kamikaze drones, augmented by AI and facial recognition, to strengthen border security.

Rest of Asia and Oceania

Drone Privacy Laws 820px Rest of Asia Oceania
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China-based DJI is the world’s largest drone manufacturer, dominating 70% of the global market. Across Asia, drones have been in use for mass surveillance, particularly in China. In recent times, drones also track compliance with strict COVID-19 guidelines in Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Nokia is testing out a drone network to provide a more rapid response to future natural disasters. The relief capabilities include disseminating more real-time updates and monitoring evacuation progress.

Africa

Drone Privacy Laws 820px Africa
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While many parts of Africa haven’t developed any drone-related laws yet, promising innovation is rearing its head. Medical drones are already saving lives in Rwanda, delivering supplies in as little as 15 minutes.

In the same vein, the pioneer African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) opened in Malawi. The academy promotes drone usage for humanitarian and disaster preparedness, and aims to equip individuals with the relevant skills.

Towards Greater Heights?

As the uses of drones evolve over time, so will their legal status and the privacy concerns surrounding them. However, the adoption of any technology is always accompanied by a certain level of skepticism.

With drones, it remains to be seen whether they’ll mostly occupy the role of a friend or a foe for years to come—and that power lies only in the hands of those who remotely control them.

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