Samsung is excited by the success of its foldable phones. The South Korean conglomerate has reasons to be, with the reception received by its latest folding phones.
The famous electronic device manufacturer sold more foldable phones in August than it sold in the whole of 2020. This was the month Samsung released the new updated models, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
For 2021, foldable sales were four times more than 2020, showing how consumers flocked to the latest smartphone form factors.
Samsung has been able to refine its foldable models, addressing the sources of complaints from buyers of the earlier models. The changes the company has made can be seen in both hardware and software. More native Samsung apps now support the unique features offered by the form factors. There have been improvements in using multiple apps simultaneously. As such, the phones are easier to use and more durable.
The price cuts also help, as the recent models are cheaper. The Galaxy Z Flip 3, for example, starts at $999, making it comparable to the iPhone 13 Pro in price. However, the starting price of $1,800 still makes the Z Fold 3 too expensive for many buyers.
Samsung also released some statistics about foldable buyers. The company states that more people just coming to the Samsung brand bought a Z Flip 3 than those that purchased the Samsung Galaxy S21, even though the latter cost about $100 less. It shows the first-time Samsung buyers are more impressed by the folding capability of the clamshell than the other Samsung flagship.
Independently, Counterpoint Research suggested that nine million foldable phones would be sold in 2021. This represents a 300 percent increase over the previous years. While Samsung has not disclosed actual numbers for its sales, Samsung took an 88 percent share of the foldable market globally. However, the share will drop with new models from Oppo, Honor, and Huawei. The Oppo Find N, in particular, looks like a worthy contender, with the excellent build quality and more proportional dimensions. Honor, a brand that once belonged to Huawei, has also teased its own folding phone, the Magic V, on Twitter, and we expect to hear more soon. Huawei is also ready to sell its clamshell foldable, the P50, in China. However, Samsung is still expected to sell more than three-quarters of all foldables next year, and even up to 2023.
The foldable phone landscape might change in 2023, with Apple expected by analysts to release its own bending iPhone. While Apple can bank on its brand name and loyal customer base, Samsung will have its significant head start as an advantage as the foldable race heats up.
According to Counterpoint Research, the market for foldables is expected to triple by 2023, meaning there is room for anybody with a model.
It is interesting to observe the trend as a consumer since the competition will foster better designs, more features, and falling prices. This is showing already, with Oppo claiming its Find N uses a uniquely designed hinge that costs $100 each. It is also cheaper, starting at $1,200, whereas the Samsung Z Fold begins at $1,799 in the US.
There are tangible reasons to believe the prices of foldable phones will come down. For example, TCL had a $1,000 clamshell phone that it decided not to release, probably attempting to drive down the cost closer to the $500 and $600 range of its flagship phones.