U.S. Customs have already seized a record number of counterfeit wireless headphones in 2021

There’s no denying that Apple’s truly wireless headphones, the AirPods and AirPods Pro, are popular. And, oddly enough, one clear sign of that booming popularity is that counterfeiters also seize on the opportunity to make a buck (or millions of them). Which is exactly what the United States Customs agency has seen, especially recently.

U.S. Customs has seen an explosion in counterfeit wireless headphones, especially following the launch of the AirPods Pro. The Information reports that U.S. Customs has already seized 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones in just the first nine months of the U.S. government’s fiscal year 2021.

That’s an estimated value of $62.2 million.

AirPods Pro

That’s a huge boom. The report says that throughout the entirety of 2020, U.S. Customs seized 295,000 counterfeit wireless headphones, worth an estimated $61.7 million. The report notes that the agency says a whopping 80% of all counterfeit products coming into the United States are sourced from China or Hong Kong.

Roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the US government’s fiscal year, which starts in October, according to previously unreported data from US Customs and Border Protection.

The US Chamber of Commerce estimated in 2016 that the total global value of counterfeit goods seized represents only 2.5% of the world’s physical counterfeiting.

By that measure, fake AirPods could cost Apple as much as $3.2 billion in lost AirPods sales this year in the US alone, assuming that people buying counterfeit AirPods would have otherwise purchased genuine products

U.S. Customs says seizures of counterfeit wireless headphones have surged 50 percent in the last five years, following the launch of Apple’s own headphones. And, worse, retail value of these counterfeit wireless headphones has skyrocketed since 2019, following the launch of Apple’s AirPods Pro.

The full report is interesting. Go check it out at The Information.