New report predicts medium to long-term foldable market expansion and key growth drivers

New report predicts medium to long-term foldable market expansion and key growth drivers
Like the smartphone market as a whole, the fledgling foldable segment is being regularly tracked by various research firms, last posting a 42 percent surge in sales in Q2 2023 compared to the same quarter of 2022. Industry forecasts, of course, are a little trickier to put together and thus a slightly rarer sight... that we're happy to report on today. 

Yes, TrendForce analysts are daring to try to anticipate the evolution of this extremely volatile and unpredictable category, which currently makes up a very small portion of the world's total smartphone shipments. Namely, the 18.3 million foldables expected to be sold globally this year will apparently equate to a tiny 1.6 percent slice of the pie.

That number should leap to around 5 percent by 2027, which doesn't exactly sound impressive in the grand scheme of things. But it would represent roughly 70 million unit sales, which is not nothing either, making the aforementioned 18.3 million figure seem outright lilliputian.

The Apple-shaped question mark and Samsung's big problem

This year's predicted 18.3 million sales will be up 43 percent from 2022's tally, mind you, with another healthy boost of 38 percent expected in 2024 to a shipment total of 25.2 million units equating to 2.2 percent of the smartphone market in its entirety.

TrendForce is not breaking down its "medium to long term" projection by each year after that, jumping straight to 2027 and rather vaguely claiming that the "expansion of the foldable smartphone market is inevitable."


There are obviously several reasons why it's currently impossible to try to predict exactly how many foldables will be sold worldwide in 2025 or 2026, but perhaps chief among them remains what analysts are calling the "enigmatic juggernaut."

No one knows when or if Apple will join the segment with its very own iPhone Fold, which could change the game entirely and make the market absolutely explode all of a sudden.

Until then, Samsung is and will probably remain the foldable market king, with Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi in its tracks. But the three big Chinese brands (and possibly others like them) are being labeled the "driving force" behind the segment's likely expansion going forward, which means that their currently tiny share figures could well improve in the next few years as foldables will inevitably get cheaper and cheaper.

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That sounds like a major potential problem for Samsung, which charges a whopping $1,800 and up for the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but the tech giant is widely expected to release a "Fan Edition" foldable in the relatively near future that could well fend off the rise of the budget-friendly Chinese army.

Samsung vs the world

At the moment, Samsung is solely responsible for 68 percent of the world's projected 2023 foldable sales, which sounds colossal but is actually a pretty significant decline from a simply astounding 82 percent market share last year.

Those kinds of numbers were obviously not sustainable in the long run as more and more companies throw their (improved) hats in the foldable ring, but Samsung can definitely be happy about boosting its volume to a "robust" 12.5 million unit sales this year.

Huawei continues to sit in second place with a "respectable" 2.5 million shipment count and 14 percent market share (at least according to these projections), while the bronze medal will go to Oppo, which is expected to narrowly beat Xiaomi 5 to 4 percent in terms of share. 

There are no words on Motorola's results or outlook in this latest report, and brands like Google or OnePlus are not mentioned in any way either, suggesting their impact on the foldable market's growth will be minimal... at best.

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