In a new report by analyst firm Counterpoint Research, they forecast that the global foldable smartphone market will grow by a massive 73 percent from 9 million shipped units in 2021 to 16 million units this year.
The increasing numbers of users trying out the foldables for the first time is not necessarily new information, as Samsung had in the past month made us all aware that their Galaxy Foldables were increasingly becoming mainstream. However, this is the first time a third party is reporting on the foldable industry as a whole rather than focusing on a single manufacturer.
This unprecedented growth in this segment, despite the economic headwinds and other external factors that have slowed the market in other segments including the entry-level and midrange, has cemented the foldable category as the fastest growing product category in 2022.
Counterpoint estimates that the growth will extend into 2023 with 26 million units being the forecasted figure for shipped units.
For the first half of the year, Samsung naturally has had the lion’s share of the market in this space, accounting for 62 percent of the shipped units. This is in accordance with Counterpoint’s Foldable Smartphone Tracker, June 2022.
“Samsung has led the market since the beginning, and we think its dominance will continue for some time. Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi and Vivo are all introducing new foldables, but they are mostly limited to the Chinese market. Motorola may be the only contender in markets like the USA for now,” explains Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst Jene Park
Huawei and OPPO came in a distant second and third with 16 percent and 3 percent of the market share respectively. However, with reports that OPPO is working on two new foldables that will get an international release rather than being restricted to China, we might see a sharp increase in their market share in the coming months.
For the immediate future, however, Counterpoint expects Samsung’s dominance to grow for the rest of the year.
“We expect the new Galaxy Fold 4 and Flip 4 combo to continue Samsung’s momentum in the space and sell close to 9 million units this year, helping the company’s H2 2022 foldables share to jump to 80 percent,” adds Jene
In trying to explain the increasing popularity of foldable smartphones despite the harsh economic times, Jene cites the different designs from traditional smartphones and the increased screen estate as key contributors.
“Foldables not only bring [a] fresh design to smartphones – traditionally ruled by bar-type form factors – but also more screen real estate. This is growing in importance with smartphone use cases expanding, especially across media, entertainment and work,” Jene concludes