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The global growth rate of foldable phones is expected to slow down this year

By Shawn Tan - on 26 Feb 2024, 8:15am

The global growth rate of foldable phones is expected to slow down this year

The Honor Magic V2 foldable phone.

The growth rate of global foldable phone shipments is expected to slow down this year according to TrendForce.

While 2023 saw a 25% year-over-year increase in shipments with 15.9 million units, TrendForce predicts that this year will see a slower growth rate of 11% with estimated shipments of 17.7 million units. Foldable phones can also expect to see a minor increase in market share from 1.4% in 2023 to 1.5% in 2025. 

TrendForce attributes the slowdown to two key reasons. First, first-time foldable phone owners experienced regular maintenance issues for their devices which led to low customer retention rates and a lack of confidence in foldable devices. This resulted in these consumers choosing high-end flagship phones as replacements.

Second, the current price points of foldable phones are still very high and this made it difficult for phone brands to hit their sales targets.

This should become less of a concern in the near future as key components of foldable phones such as hinges and ultra-thin glass reach bigger production scales which should lead to lower costs. In addition, increasing display panel supplies from Chinese makers is likely to help phone brands lower manufacturing costs and accelerate market penetration.

In terms of individual phone brand's market share in the foldable phone space, TrendForce says market leader Samsung will continue to lead the pack although the South Korean's market share has been eroding since 2022.

Samsung saw its market share dip from 80% in 2022 to 70% last year, and it is estimated to drop even further to 60% this year. On the other hand, Huawei's market share hit 12% in 2023 and could hit 20% by the end of the year. Other players such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have market shares below 10% respectively.

Over a three-year period, TrendForce's Sep 2023 report indicates that foldable phones would hit 5% global market share by 2027. Another research firm estimates that global phone shipments will reach 100 million units in 2027.

Source: TrendForce

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