Foldable Smartphone Market Expected to Grow, Reach 18 Million Units by 2022: Report

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Samsung has been a pioneer in the field and had rightly held over 80 per cent of the total market share for foldable smartphones last year

Smartphone manufacturers can look towards tapping a new business opportunity as the market for foldable handsets is predicted to grow to reach 1.2 per cent of the total addressable smartphone market by 2022. According to a report by Counterpoint Research, foldables are expected to form 18 million units of the total 1.3 billion units of smartphones in the market.  

The report said that having formed only a fraction of a per cent in 2020 and with manufacturers experimenting with various form factors, designs, materials and operating system variants, shipment share for foldable handsets will stay at low single-digit for the foreseeable future.  

Various smartphone manufacturers are gearing up to pioneer new variants in this segment, particularly Oppo and TCL, whose recent announcements about the launch of new products indicates towards rollable designs also being available in the market in the future. 

With LG Electronics out of the smartphone space, LG Display will also be focusing on attracting new clients for its latest foldable/rollable product lineup.  

“Ultimately, these display makers will have to find a way to scale the product to bring down device prices to meaningful sub-$1000 levels to take it mainstream. Additionally, production yield for these innovative displays will be critical for suppliers to achieve economies of scale,” said Neil Shah, Counterpoint’s vice president of research.

Samsung has been a pioneer in the field and had rightly held over 80 per cent of the total market share for foldable smartphones last year. This, however, is not expected to stay very long. 

Senior analyst Jene Park says, “This year, however, Samsung is facing more competition, with the release of Huawei’s critically lauded Mate X2, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Fold, and announcements from Vivo, Oppo, and TCL hinting at 2021 launches.”

Highlighting the importance of industry support for the growth of the market, Shah added, “Smartphone makers, along with Google and the Android developer ecosystem will need to optimise software and applications for the new form-factors, and this is where we could see a lot of fragmentation early on.”

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