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Foldable Phones Likely to Remain Niche Luxury Item
Mass Adoption Unlikely until 2024
Foldable Phones Likely to Remain Niche Luxury Item
  • By Michael Herh
  • September 16, 2019, 10:42
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Foldable phones are unlikely to become the mainstream of the smartphone market by 2024, a market research company says.

Foldable phones are likely to remain a niche luxury product until 2024 rather than become the mainstream of the smartphone market, a market research company forecast in a recent report.

Strategy Analytics (SA) said in the “Global Display Technologies Forecast: 2008-2024” report that that foldable phones are still far from being the market mainstream. In particular, the report forecast that the share of foldable phones will be less than 0.1 percent this year, but will increase to more than 3 percent by 2024.

“Foldable display devices will create their own category inside smartphones much like the first Note established Phablets,” comments Ken Hyers, a director at Strategy Analytics.

“Foldable display smartphones will be an ultra-premium category with a limited customer base that can afford the pricy new devices,” comments Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, an associate director at Strategy Analytics. “Foldable display smartphones will initially primarily target business users. For that customer segment the price might not be as much of an issue, but for mass adoption the prices must come down.”

SA selected Samsung Electronics and Huawei as pioneers of foldable phone innovation. Other companies such as Apple and Xiaomi are also developing foldable phones or considering entering the market. Foldable smartphones phones began to emerge slowly but will inevitably change the way smartphones are used and product suppliers will have to work hard and spend significant marketing costs to convince consumers that their products are durable enough for everyday use, SA said.

Meanwhile, another market research firm Counterpoint Research forecasted in a report on the global foldable smartphone market that foldable phone shipments will reach about 400,000 units this year. This is much lower than the previous estimate of 1.9 million units. The research firm said that they lowered the number of shipments due to the fact that Samsung Electronics' foldable phone Galaxy Fold originally scheduled for an April launch was delayed due to problems such as display defects and its supply was adjusted to lower volume. This has reduced consumers’ interest in the product and their purchase sentiment.