U.S. Customs Seizing Record Numbers of Counterfeit Wireless Headphones Since AirPods Pro Launched
The surging popularity of AirPods has reportedly resulted in record numbers of counterfeit wireless headphones being seized at the U.S. border.
According to The Information's Wayne Ma, roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the U.S. government's fiscal year, based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. By comparison, the report claims 295,000 counterfeits with a retail value of $61.7 million were seized at the U.S. border in the entire 2020 fiscal year.
U.S. Customs told The Information that 80% of all counterfeit products coming into the U.S. were from mainland China or Hong Kong. While it's unclear how many of the seized counterfeit headphones were AirPods, U.S. Customs said seizures have increased 50% in the past five years as products such as Apple's earbuds have gained popularity.
The retail value of counterfeit wireless headphones seized by U.S. Customs appears to have skyrocketed following the release of AirPods Pro in October 2019.
MacRumors shared a comparison of real and fake AirPods Pro back in 2019:
The Information examined counterfeit AirPods Pro sold in Hong Kong in December, noting that they had a genuine Apple serial number and were physically indistinguishable from legitimate AirPods Pro, and even had functional active noise cancellation and Transparency mode features. The report claims one of the only ways to determine that the AirPods were fake was by looking up their firmware version, which was incorrect.
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