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Trendforce has released its forecast for the foldable smartphone market in the next five years, including the rest of 2023. Expectations are that shipments will reach 18.3 million units in 2023, accounting for a market share of 1.6%. By 2027, it is projected to grow to 70 million units, representing 5% of the global smartphone market.
The foldable market is expected to expand due to reduced manufacturing costs and increased availability from Chinese smartphone manufacturers. As component costs decrease, particularly for panels and hinges, retail prices for foldable devices are also expected to drop, potentially falling below $1,000.
According to Trendforce, Samsung is projected to sell 12.5 million foldable phones this year, capturing two-thirds of the market. This represents a decrease from their 82% market share in 2022. The emergence of Chinese competitors, such as Huawei (with predicted shipments of 2.5 million, accounting for 14% market share), as well as Oppo and Xiaomi (each holding 5% and 4% market share respectively), is the primary reason for Samsung’s loss of market share.
The main reason for Samsung’s declining dominance is the impact of the pandemic and the cautious approach of Chinese manufacturers towards international shipments. Currently, most Chinese brands only offer their foldable products domestically. However, once they are ready to expand overseas, the overall foldable market is expected to grow further.
Trendforce report also mentions Apple. Cupertino has yet to release a foldable iPhone, but analysts believe that a foldable iPhone will not be introduced until component manufacturers perfect minor issues, such as panel flatness and hinge design.