"The latest release of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 will once again put the entire category in the spotlight as Samsung continues to be the gold standard for foldable devices in the market," said Anthony Scarcello, head of research at IDC.
In 2022, shipments of foldable phones increased dramatically, with 13.5 million units shipped worldwide, a 66.6 percent increase over 2021.
But the impressive growth did not significantly change the overall smartphone market share: in 2022, foldable devices occupied about 1.1% of the market. Strong sales of Samsung's folding and foldable variants have paved the way for the company's impressive track record. According to research company IDC.
"The latest release of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 will once again put the entire category in the spotlight as Samsung continues to be the gold standard for foldable devices in the market," said Anthony Scarcello, head of research at IDC. : Statement “Samsung's new releases bring incremental but significant improvements over their predecessors. The success of these devices should be a strong indicator of how sophisticated devices will continue to evolve and delight consumers in the future.”
Bob O'Donnell, president and chief analyst at Technalysis Research, sees the sophisticated mobile phone market as a unique marketing opportunity and the future of mobile technology. "I think that's the future," he told CRN. "It's a revolutionary device, and when you take a sophisticated device out of an airport, people are amazed."
However, he said that the company will really take the technology to the next level. “Until Apple releases a sophisticated device, the game will not change. Part of the reason is that screens are difficult to mass produce. This leads to supply chain problems.”
And now Samsung has turned that technology proposition on its head, he said. "[Samsung] sees this as a great opportunity to use their technology," O'Donnell said.
Still, persistently high prices remain a challenge for consumers, IDC's Scarcello added. "While price is a pain point for consumers, the starting price of $999 is acceptable ... as most consumer goods are expected to increase in price in 2022 due to inflation."
The impressively steady growth is expected to continue as IDC expects shipments of foldable phones to reach 41.5 million units in 2026, representing a 38.7% annual growth rate. IDC noted that this is good news for enterprise deployments. “The commercial segment of the market is still suitable for the use of foldable devices as two-in-one devices that can replace both a phone and a tablet. While IDC still believes this use case remains a low priority, falling prices and new business use cases make the concept more attractive going forward,” the IDC report said.
However, ordinary smartphones are not quite in the realm of dinosaurs. IDC notes that most phones will stick to more traditional touch platforms. "The big question today is whether pop-ups will become mainstream any time soon. Unfortunately, the answer is no," said Nabila Popal, director of research at IDC. The main thing for me is the volume, and the volume is affected by cheap phones under $400.
Samsung blamed Apple in a recent marketing campaign for not wanting to use pop-ups. Here IDC is on the side of Apple and says that it is better to take your time with the expandable space. "While vendors may be tempted to lower selling prices to get an initial boost in sales, I strongly believe that this is not a good move, especially at the expense of quality and user experience," Popal added.
Others are making interesting forays into pop-up markets. For example, Lenovo recently released its ThinkPad X1 Fold, a foldable laptop that can offer a 16.3-inch OLED display when laid flat.
"These new flyers are very interesting," O'Donnell said. “Will it ever become mainstream? This is an unanswered question."