Global foldable phone market sees slow growth in 2023

2024.02.23 10:29:02 | 2024.02.26 09:15:21

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

The global market for foldable phones is experiencing sluggish growth, with shipments accounting for only about 1 percent of the entire smartphone shipments in 2023, data showed Thursday.

According to Taiwanese market research firm TrendForce, the global shipment volume of foldable smartphones totaled 15.9 million units in 2023, up 25 percent from the previous year, but their share in the overall smartphone market remained at 1.4 percent.

TrendForce projected that the foldable smartphone market’s 2023 growth would be 43 percent higher than the previous year in September 2023, when shipments hit 18.3 million units.

TrendForce also forecasted that 2024’s foldable smartphone shipment volume would hit 17.7 million units, with a growth rate of 11 percent, indicating a slowdown compared to the previous year.

Five years have passed since the introduction of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Z Fold in February 2019 but industry observers note that there is still a long way to go for the popularization of foldable phones.

Explaining this slow growth, TrendForce noted that there are frequent maintenance issues leading to low consumer retention and the current price range of foldable smartphones is yet to hit the range preferred by consumers.

Although efforts are ongoing to accelerate the expansion of the foldable smartphone ecosystem, there is speculation that Samsung Electronics may release entry-level foldable smartphones with reduced prices in the second half of 2024.

Chinese manufacturers including Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have also introduced foldable smartphones to target the market.

According to Chinese media reports, Huawei is developing a new foldable phone that folds twice in a Z shape and which is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2024.

Samsung Electronics Co. had the biggest share in the market with 66.4 percent, followed by Huawei (11.9 percent) and Xiaomi (5.3 percent) in 2023.

Apple Inc. is also expected to begin preparations to launch a foldable smartphone, joining these major players. Apple’s entry into the market is anticipated to inject momentum into the sluggish market, according to industry experts.

Meanwhile, the best-selling smartphone globally last year was Apple’s iPhone 14, and the company was behind the top seven out of the top 10 smartphones sold worldwide, market research firm Counterpoint Research said on Thursday.

The iPhone 14 topped the list, followed by iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 15 series, released in the second half of 2024, secured fifth to seventh place.

Samsung Galaxy’s budget models, the Galaxy A14 5G, Galaxy A04e, and Galaxy A14 4G models placed eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively.

Samsung Electronics had two models (Galaxy A13 and Galaxy A03) that made it onto the top 10 sales list in 2022, with the company extending the number to three in 2023.

By Jeong Ho-jun and Lee Eun-joo

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