AirPods set to become Apple’s third-largest product within 18 months

Apple’s AirPods are set to generate $15bn in revenue next year and could become the company’s third-largest product in 2021 if the current rate of sales growth continues, analysts have claimed.

2019 was truly a breakout year for the wireless earbuds as sales of the standard model and a new Pro version doubled to $6bn.

Bloomberg recently noted that shipments will hit 60m this year, while CEO Tim Cook said in a recent earnings call that “new highs” keep on coming for the popular product.

There appears to be no end in sight for growth though as a number of analysts have claimed that sales will continue to increase sharply during the next 18 to 24 months.

Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi expects AirPods shipments to top 85m in 2021, which is line with a recent forecast from Wedbush Securities.

That would push sales to more than $15bn and see Apple’s wearables, home and accessories division surpass the iPad business and Mac computers in the not-too-distant future.

Black Friday was a particularly fruitful period for AirPods, according to Wedbush analysts Dan Ives and Strecker Backe, who claimed earlier this month that 3m units were shifted during the four-day period to Cyber Monday.

The fervent demand has forced Apple to ramp up production ahead of what is expected to be a busy 2020 for both the second-gen entry-level version and the newly launched Pro, which retail for $250.

AirPods Pro promise to deliver active noise cancellation, water resistance and a customisable fit for increased comfort, and have received glowing reviews from critics and customers alike.

Apple cannot get too complacent though as Sacconaghi believes that the recent exponential growth could taper off slightly by 2022 as its potential new customer base starts to shrink.

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