New-gen airpods

Luxshare Precision Industry and Goertek, reportedly assemblers for the new-generation AirPods, have seen their factory sites in Vietnam affected by a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak locally and will have to fulfill orders for Apple’s upcoming TWS earbuds at their plants in China, according to industry sources.

The sources pointed out that Apple began a small volume of order pull-ins in July, with the volume expected to continue rising in both August and September. The momentum is unlikely to die down until November based on past experience.

Since the Vietnam government is demanding local factories provide dormitories to their workers in exchange for permission to stay in production, many international companies are now seeking to use non-Vietnam production lines to fulfill their orders, as most of them do not have existing dorm facilities, and it may not be possible to build them at the moment.

The sources originally expected AirPods shipments in 2021 to stay at a level similar to 2020, but the issues at Luxshare’s and Goertek’s plants in Vietnam may undermine overall shipments in 2021. However, sales of the new AirPods are still expected to stay robust, partly thanks to the release of the next-generation iPhones.

Research firm Strategy Analytics’ figures also show 70% of global Bluetooth earphone shipments in 2021 will be True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds and the availability of other high cost/performance ratio TWS earbuds could undermine demand for AirPods in the year.

Google has recently launched its Pixel Buds A with a strengthened low frequency and Google voice assistance functionalities. The cheapest one Google offers is priced at around US$99, while regular AirPods start at US$159.

Reference: DigiTimesAsia