Apple expected to double AirPods shipments to 60 million in 2019

With major competitors out of the way until 2020, Apple is dominating the wireless earbud market

AirPods Pro in ear

Apple is expected to ship even more AirPods in 2019, according to a Bloomberg report. The publication says AirPods shipments will double to 60 million units in 2019.

The numbers come from sources familiar with the Cupertino, California-based company’s production plans. “Much higher” than expected demand for the more expensive AirPods Pro caused the increased shipments.

Apple released the AirPods Pro in the fall. The true wireless earbuds retail for $329 in Canada and offer noise cancellation and water resistance, among other features.

However, all the demand is pushing Apple’s manufacturing partners to the limits, according to Bloomberg. Multiple suppliers are competing for the business of manufacturing the AirPods Pro, but many still need to build up the technical proficiency.

Currently, there’s a two to three week wait for the AirPods Pro on Apple’s website in Canada. Bloomberg reports a similar wait time for the U.S.

Along with the AirPods Pro, the launch of the $269 AirPods with Wireless Charging Case in March helped stir demand. These AirPods were an iteration on the original AirPods, with little difference save the inclusion of wireless charging, a new H1 chip and “Hey Siri” functionality. Original AirPods are still available as well for $219. AirPods released in 2016.

Biggest competition out of the picture until 2020

Further, Bloomberg notes that there’s little in the way of competition at the moment. Microsoft recently delayed its truly wireless Surface Buds until spring 2020 (although we weren’t going to get them in Canada until next year anyway). Google also plans to launch its Pixel Buds in 2020. Finally, Amazon’s Echo buds are available in the U.S. but haven’t made their way to Canada yet.

Samsung also has its Galaxy Buds, but Bloomberg reports that Apple ranked as the preferred brand in the U.S. Sony recently launched excellent true wireless earbuds as well.

On top of this, Apple owns Beats, and its Powerbeats Pro are also among the top 10 sellers for true wireless headphones.

Bloomberg predicts Apple will keep its 50 percent share of the true wireless market should it resolve the manufacturing troubled and hit its 60 million shipments in 2019.

It’s good news for Apple as the company tries to adapt to slowing iPhone demand. While the company no longer shares sales figures for its smartphone products, in the past quarter the iPhone’s sales shrunk to $33.4 billion USD (about $44.4 billion CAD).

However, the Wearables, Home and Accessories segment, which consists of the Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats, HomePod and Apple TV groups, generated $6.5 billion USD (approximately $8.6 billion CAD), a growth of 54 percent.

Source: Bloomberg