Apple to cut AirPods production by up to 30% in 2021, says report

Air Pods Pro on stage
Air Pods Pro on stage (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly cutting production of AirPods by up to 30% in 2021.
  • That's because sales are reportedly losing steam as competition intensifies.
  • A new report says Apple will make 75-85 million units this year, compared to a previous forecast of 110 million.

A new report says Apple plans to cut production of its AirPods by between 25% and 30% as sales lose steam.

From Nikkei Asia:

Apple is trimming its planned production of AirPods wireless earphones by 25% to 30% this year as intensifying competition dents sales of the U.S. tech giant's fastest-growing product line, sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia.Apple now expects to make between 75 million and 85 million units for 2021, compared with a previous production forecast of 110 million units.

The report says the move indicates "demand is weakening for AirPods" following 5 years of double-digit growth.

The report says the "most significant order reduction" is for the second quarter and towards the start of the third quarter, with levels of inventory as well as in-store stocks currently high. Furthermore, a source said, "demand is not as strong as expected". The report notes some retailers globally offering discounts:

The retail price of AirPods Pro on T-Mall, one of the leading Chinese e-commerce platforms, is 1,498 yuan ($231), a 25% discount compared with its original price tag of 1,999 yuan.

The report does however offer some hope, as rumored new AirPods could drive sales:

The U.S. tech giant hopes that new AirPods slated to be introduced this year will stimulate sales, the people said.

The report says Apple has "played a major role in cultivating the market for true wireless earphones" but is now chafing under the success of some of its competitors, with Apple's market share falling from 60% in 2018 to just 31% last year, according to Counterpoint Research.

Apple's new AirPods, expected later this year as mentioned could debut a design reminiscent of Apple's AirPods Pro, currently the best true wireless earbuds on the market, without active noise-canceling technology.

The news could raise the eyebrows of investors ahead of Apple's Q2 2021 earnings call, scheduled to take place later on Wednesday.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9