Foldable smartphones are quickly transitioning from being a novelty to a staple in the tech market, with numerous manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and Google offering their own versions of foldable devices. A study by Counterpoint Research suggests that the acceptance and popularity of foldable smartphones are on the rise, with 28% of US smartphone users being highly likely to opt for a foldable for their next purchase12.
Yet, one significant player has been noticeably absent from this foldable frenzy – Apple. Despite holding a patent for a foldable smartphone design, the tech giant has yet to release a foldable iPhone, a fact that is prompting some iPhone users to switch brands. Notably, Motorola has reported that 20% of new Razr users are coming from Apple products13.
The allure of foldable phones largely lies in their unique form factor. Offering a compromise between a compact phone and a larger display, foldable phones appeal to users who desire the convenience of a larger screen without sacrificing portability. According to the Counterpoint Research survey, a significant number of respondents indicated a preference for larger displays, which could be a driving factor for opting for foldable smartphones4.
Although foldable smartphones account for a small fraction of the global smartphone market, their growth is substantial and swift. International Data Corporation estimates worldwide shipments of foldables to increase by more than 50% in 2023 compared to 2022, signaling a promising future for this category1.
Samsung, a pioneer in the foldable smartphone market, remains a strong contender with its Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold series. The brand has been successful in attracting a significant number of iPhone users despite a lack of foldable options from Apple. In fact, Samsung’s user-friendly design and extensive marketing efforts have helped it maintain a strong foothold in the foldable market5.
However, despite the growing interest and market expansion, the adoption of foldable phones is not without challenges. Concerns about durability, price, and the availability of optimized apps for a foldable interface may act as potential deterrents for some consumers. But as technology advances and manufacturers continue to innovate, these hurdles may well become a thing of the past.
In conclusion, the unfolding story of foldable smartphones is one of rapid growth and potential. As more consumers warm up to the idea of a foldable device as their next smartphone, manufacturers will continue to evolve and innovate, offering more sophisticated and user-friendly foldable options. Whether Apple will join the foldable race remains to be seen, but for now, other brands are making the most of this unfolding opportunity.