Apple AirPods sales nearly doubled this year as they crossed the $6 billion threshold. Analysts believe the wireless earbuds could sell even more next year.
Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst for Bernstein, predicts that Apple could sell 85 million AirPods in 2020. That would generate about $15 billion in revenue for the company. If sales of wireless earbuds continue at this rate, the product could become Apple’s third-largest business.
Sacconaghi is consistently rated as one of the top investor analysts for IT hardware and electronics manufacturing.
The AirPods Pro model is already sold out for the holiday season both online and in-stores. Some people are scalping the Pro buds on eBay for a $100 premium for the holidays. AirPods Pro starts at $249, while the regular AirPods start at $159.
The noise-cancellation feature of the AirPods Pro is an attractive feature, too. The Pro model features active noise-cancellation, which uses microphones to detect low-frequency noise and neutralize it before it reaches the ear. The functionality can be turned on and off and features a transparency mode for safe driving and walking for users of the device.
Sacconaghi is quick to note that the upward trajectory of AirPods may be short-lived. Right now, iPhone and iPad users are eager to snap up new tech that works with their jack-less devices. As those users purchase the earbuds, there are fewer potential customers.
Sacconaghi says the steep adoption curve and rapid saturation may lead to a decrease in sales. He predicts AirPods growth will slow down by 2021 to single-digit growth rates. That might not be too surprising, considering most companies now have a wireless earbud option.
Audiophiles will pass on the tiny earbuds in favor of something with a richer sound. But for the general public looking for a new Bluetooth option, the Pods seem to fit the bill.