Amazon delivery drones already marketing 'success' for retailer as UK pilot begins

Amazon's drone delivery service, while is being piloted in the UK this year, is already a marketing success for the online retail giant, according to Enders Analysis.

The company has announced that it will partner with the British government to run tests exploring the viability of delivery of small parcels by drone for the first time in Britain.

The experiment will look at drones carrying deliveries weighing 2.3kg or less, which Amazon says will make up 90% of its sales.

According to a report published today by Enders: "Prime Air is a marketing success for Amazon – much like the 'bets' made by Facebook and Google – expressed in a video fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, hilarious spoofs aside."

But the report warns: "Once Amazon clears the technical and regulatory hurdles to launch Prime Air, a final issue concerns the likely customer adoption of the service within its limited catchment area. 

"We expect Amazon will not bundle the service into Prime and will instead charge the subscriber extra, much like Prime Now, which delivers packages in one to two hours to selected postcodes for £6.99. Other customer concerns include the security of packages delivered to gardens." 

When it launches, Prime Air will be limited to a catchment area of 2.3 million homes in the UK, with further exclusions for no-go areas for drones like airports and urban areas.

The drones wil serve a 10-mile radius around 10 Amazon fulfillment cetnres (with two more opening soon in Leicester and Manchester). 

Although Amazon does not confirm or deny exact locations of their outdoor testing sites, reports suggest the UK pilot is taking place near their centre in Cambridge.

An Amazon spokeswoman said: "We’re not going to launch until we can demonstrate safety, and that’s what this programme is going to do."

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