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    Global foldable phone market slows down due to durability fears and high costs

    Phone
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    Last updated: February 23rd, 2024 at 12:11 UTC+01:00

    The foldable phone market was dominated by Samsung in 2023, and market watchers expect a similar outcome in 2024. According to research firm TrendForce, global shipments of foldable phones topped 15.9 million units in 2023.

    This means foldable phones accounted for roughly 1.4% of the smartphone market last year. It also means that global shipments in the foldable device segment were 25% higher in 2023 compared to 2022.

    However, market watchers expect shipments in 2024 to increase by only 11%, up to 17.7 million units. TrendForce attributes this slowdown to durability concerns and high prices.

    Some prospective buyers are afraid their foldable phones could break

    TrendForce believes that the foldable market's slowdown is caused by two main factors. One is that foldable phones are not as reliable as slab-type handsets, and customers who might be facing issues with foldable phones have a high probability of switching back to standard form factors. The foldable phone market has a low retention rate.

    The second factor cited by the market watcher has to do with pricing. Foldable phones are still priced at a premium. However, the mass production standardization of key components might help lower prices.

    Samsung is rumored to be working on a more affordable fold-type phone for a 2024 release. A cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 variant might help solidify the company's position, but nothing is confirmed.

    In 2023, Samsung had a 66.4% foldable phone market share, declining from around 80% in 2022. Huawei had the 2nd largest foldable phone market share, thanks to its popularity in China, and the brand accounted for 11.9% of the global market.

    This year, TrendForce estimates Samsung's market share to drop to 60.4%, while Huawei's could rise to 19.8%. Moving forward, it is said that Samsung aims to maintain a global market share of around 60%.

    Interestingly, although Oppo and Vivo have denied the rumors about them leaving the foldable phone market, TrendForce hints at the possibility that these two brands may actually halt their plans for vertically folding flip-style phones this year and focus exclusively on book-type devices.

    The third-largest foldable phone brand in 2023 was Xiaomi. It captured 5.3% of the market. Other phone brands combined, including Vivo and Oppo, accounted for the remaining 16.4% global share.

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