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.

airpods max blue
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.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Caution)
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

dannys1 Avatar
45 months ago
Of course it is - and that's what I love most about these. That the biggest tech company in the world is willing to spend R&D making what is essential a niche device and will generate about 0.0001% of the iPhone income.

Even if I don't want the items, I'm very happy when Apple releases niche devices like the XDR display and to a lesser degree these -- because ultimately it's not making them anymore significant money and they could easily not bother.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haruhiko Avatar
45 months ago

Big, heavy, expensive, and lets robbers know exactly who to target. I would rather stick with my airpods. Maybe if future revisions can bring the cost down I might get one for home use only
You have a much bigger problem than your AirPods Max if robbers are everywhere in the place you live.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
asdavis10 Avatar
45 months ago
Hate the name. On the fence about the design (and case). Have no doubt that the tech is great in these. But we’re probably looking at another HomePod. Not for everyone. And that’s ok. I love my HomePod. But will pass on these.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coredev Avatar
45 months ago

Hopefully this will apply to iPhone mini as well. Sales data reveals it is a niche product, or at least, the least popular iPhone size by far.
That is kind of surprising, because for years we were hearing forum members whine that they really need an up to date iPhone at a smaller form factor.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmoliv Avatar
45 months ago
They only "quickly sold out" because they manufactured a small batch of them. It's pure marketing.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
45 months ago
"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."

Beats headphones are sold by Apple at lower price points and Beats has a market share that is competitive with JBL, Sony, and Bose.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)