With the launch of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus without a headphone jack back in September 2016, controversy erupted. Now, users must plug wired headphones into the Lightning connector using an adapter, included in the box with each device, which is sold separately for $9 in the United States.
That same adapter is also available to purchase at resellers such as Best Buy, where nearly two years later, it remains a top-selling product. In fact, the adapter is Best Buy’s second-best selling Apple initiative in terms of unit sales, behind only AirPods, according to Joshua Fruhlinger, publisher of data-driven site Thinknum:
The above chart shows the Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Adapter’s sales rank at Best Buy for the past couple years. A lower sales rank, of course, is better. As you can see, the adapter has been a top-25 seller for the better part of the past year.
Apple is likely not making a ton off of the little dongles, but the fact remains that it’s the company’s second-best-selling product at America’s number-one electronics retailer, ahead of its EarPods and Apple Watch.
As MacRumors reached out to find out and verify the data, obtained using Best Buy’s developer APIs, and did see that the headphone jack adapter has consistently ranked as the best selling Apple product behind AirPods, with a few days here and there as exceptions, for well over a year.
Given the fact that, since the adapter was released a few years ago, its sales ranking among all products sold by Best Buy has generally increased:
- Dec 15, 2016: 261st
- Mar 15, 2017: 77th
- Jun 15, 2017: 33rd
- Sep 15, 2017: 30th
- Dec 15, 2017: 53rd
- Mar 15, 2018: 18th
- Jun 15, 2018: 19th
The data we have is particularly interesting about Apple already includes its headphone jack adapter in the box with its latest iPhones. So every customer that needs one should already have one. What is driving all of the sales?
Here’s the reasonable explanation offered by FruFruhlinger: people keep losing the adapter, thereby having to buy a new one:
I almost died of laughter at the gym last year. I was plodding away on a treadmill listening to Bill Burr complain about his new iPhone. To be more precise, he was ranting about his new iPhone’s lack of a headphone jack and how he kept losing those Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapters…
The story cut too close to home. As a wired headphone holdout (I refuse to charge my headphones, and I love my Klipsches), I’ve gone through several headphones adapters myself.
Indeed, some customers may simply want more than one headphone jack adapter for use in the car, at work, and so forth.
Overall, the data obtained only suggests wired headphones remain popular, but not better than AirPods are. This is one Apple product outselling the adapter at Best Buy, so many customers are also embracing wireless.
Apple is said to be pushing towards a “truly wireless future,” as evidenced by the removal of the headphone jack. Ranging from AirPods and AirPower to its W1 and W2 wireless chips. the headphone jack adapter has always been a stopgap aimed that transition.
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