Foldable smartphone shipments to exceed 30mn in 2024

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Foldable smartphone shipments are forecast to increase by a CAGR of 53 per cent between 2021 and 2024 to exceed 30 million in 2024 worldwide, a new report revealed.

The segment is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 122 per cent between 2019, the year the first foldable products launched, and 2024. Driven by Samsung, foldable smartphone shipments reached 8.9 million in 2021. The foldable segment grew 148 per cent year on year despite high price tags, while the overall smartphone market only grew 7 per cent, according to market research firm Canalys.

“Foldable form factors present vital differentiation for vendors to stimulate smartphone sales. They are especially appealing to early adopters and high-end users. Android vendors are under big pressure in the premium segment, as shipments of $800-plus smartphones have fallen 18 per cent below the 2019 level while iOS shipments have grown 68 per cent over the same time,” Toby Zhu, Canalys Analyst said in a statement.

The supply chain ecosystem for foldable devices has developed rapidly over the last few years, thanks to Samsung. While there are an increasing number of suppliers for foldable displays, hinges and other key components, device vendors are also highlighting innovative engineering solutions and product designs for a better user experience while constantly pushing down prices.

“In addition to major hardware design innovations, the real battlefield for device vendors is the software user experience, which requires substantial investment in the user interface and capable software as the foldable app ecosystem is still far from optimal,” Amber Liu, Research Analyst at Canalys noted.

Major smartphone vendors are getting ready to compete in the foldable category, which will become a vital part of their high-end strategies and corporate branding. This year will see many new foldable device launches as vendors continue reducing thickness, weight and price, which will be vital for mass-market adoption.

The leading players will start to flex their muscles in the ecosystem to leapfrog their competitors with advanced and differentiated experiences.

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