AirPods Max Market Segment Too Niche to Boost Sales, Say Apple Suppliers
Apple's suppliers don't expect AirPods Max to boost their sales anything like AirPods earbuds because they believe the over-ear headphones market segment is too niche, according to a new report out today.
Taiwan-based Compeq and Unitech have been shipping rigid-flex boards for AirPods and are said to be supplying the printed circuit boards for AirPods Max too, according to DigiTimes.
However, industry sources said the PCB suppliers don't foresee a significant boost to their sales from AirPods Max, "reasoning that over-ear headphones are positioned as a niche segment with higher prices but smaller market scale compared to earbuds."
The sources cited Canalys statistics showing that the world's quarterly shipments of true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds came to around 45 million pairs in third-quarter 2019, compared to 20 million for over-ear headphones.
The report notes that JBL, Sony and Bose are "firmly in the leader group" in terms of market share for over-ear headphones. It's worth adding that all three offer headphones at a significantly lower price point than Apple is targeting with AirPods Max, which cost $549.
Indeed, the price has raised eyebrows and led some commentators to question Apple's market strategy for the headphones. Nevertheless, AirPods Max quickly sold out when they were unveiled on Tuesday, and are now backordered until March in all colors.