The growing popularity of the Galaxy Fold is raising expectations of Samsung Display as the proportion of the display in the total price of components in the foldable phone is more than two times higher than existing models.
It is difficult to churn out foldable displays in a short period of time, but they offer a higher margin than existing display products. Furthermore, they can open a new market if their size is enlarged. Korean display manufacturers, including Samsung Display, are currently downsizing their workforce as liquid crystal display (LCD) panel prices have been on the decrease.
When consumers want to repair the displays of their Galaxy Fold, they need to pay 1.57 million won (US$1,308) for the main and sub displays if the used displays are not returned and 1.17 million won (US$974) if they are returned, according to industry sources on Oct. 9. The displays account for 65.5 percent of the model’s regular price of 2.40 million won (US$1,999). Consumers have to change both sub and main displays in the Galaxy Fold even when one of them is broken.
Such a proportion is very high compared to Samsung Electronics’ Note 10 and Note 10 Plus that were recently launched. The price of displays in its flagship 512GB Note 10 Plus model with baseless and edge design accounts for up to 30.2 percent of the regular price of 1.25 million won (US$1,041). The price of display is set at 423,000 won (US$353) if not returned and 297,000 won (US$248) if returned. The main board, which is the most expensive component, is priced at 453,000 won (US$378).
Industry watchers say the supply price of foldable displays is high because it is difficult to realize new technology. An official from a display producer said, “It is the world’s first model equipped with the foldable display technology so the price has to be set high considering costs for research and development (R&D) and mass production. This is why the proportion of foldable displays in the list price is higher than other displays even they are same flagship models.”
Starting with the Galaxy Fold, the shipment of smartphones with foldable displays is expected to come to 1.10 million units this year, according to U.S.-based display market research firm DSCC. As the technology will be used in not only smartphones but also laptops and tablet PCs starting from next year, the foldable display device market will be worth 74 million units by 2023, including 6 million units of laptops, 58 million of smartphones and 10 million of tablet PCs.