By 2023, global shipments of foldable smartphones could reach as many as 18.3 million units, marking a 43% year-over-year increase. Certainly interesting numbers but it must still be considered that we are only talking about a small 1.6% of the total smartphone market.
UM STRONG GROWING MARKET
Looking to 2024, foldable growth forecast by research firm TrendForce would be a further 38%, which would translate into as many as 25.2 million units and a market share that would rise to 2.2%. Looking at the medium and long term, however, the expansion of this type of device would be inevitable, also thanks to Apple’s possible entry into the market.
In fact, by 2027, TrendForce predicts that shipments of foldable smartphones could reach 70 million units , 5% of the global smartphone market. In addition to new players, the reduction in component costs and the expansion strategies of Chinese brands would also provide a strong stimulus to growth.
To date, the components that contribute to significantly increasing the costs of foldable smartphones are both the displays and the closing mechanisms, the so-called “hinges”. However, technological progress and the simplification of mechanisms are gradually pushing starting prices below 1000 dollars, stimulating sales more.
SAMSUNG IN THE LEAD BUT COMPETITION ADVANCES
As also noted in recent weeks by the DSCC , Samsung is once again at the top of the ranking of the major foldable manufacturers with projections pointing to 12.5 million units shipped in 2023 . However, its huge 2022 market share of 82% has already dropped to 68%.
The lower shares were cannibalized by Chinese producers, first and foremost Huawei, which took second place with 14% and an estimated 2.5 million leaflets shipped. OPPO and Xiaomi follow, with market shares of 5% and 4% respectively. Other brands, including Motorola which did very well with its Razr , gained less than 4%.
PRICES ARE GOING DOWN, APPLE WAITS
TrendForce still points to the pandemic as a factor that has negatively impacted the expansion of Chinese brands that have focused more on the domestic market, avoiding aggressive expansion abroad. However, if these brands began to sell more of their leaflets on the international market, the situation could evolve differently.
As mentioned, there is also the Apple factor to consider . The company led by Tim Cook has so far remained watching, looking out from a hypothetical balcony awaiting the evolution and technological progress of this sector. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hypothesize a foldable iPhone today considering the extreme fragility and lack of uniformity of the displays. Apple, however, is apparently working on it and it is easier to imagine that it will find the right solution sooner or later.