Samsung's foldable smartphone domination will be put to the test in 2023

The boxes for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Foldable phones had record shipments in Q3 2022 amid the launch of Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphones.
  • Foldable shipments are expected to fall in Q4, 2022 following the launch of the iPhone 14.
  • It's expected that Samsung will maintain a lead in 2023 despite increased competition in the foldable space.

A new report from Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) sheds some light on the state of the foldable market in recent quarters, as well as what to expect in the coming year as competition against Samsung's Galaxy foldable lineups grows.

According to the report, the foldable market saw record shipments of more than 6 million units in Q3 2022. Samsung unsurprisingly made up the majority of that, thanks to the launches of its latest foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, which made up the top two spots in the foldable market, respectively.

However, Q4 2022 doesn't look as good for the foldable market, which is expected to see a nearly 50% drop in shipments compared to Q3 and a 25% drop compared to Q4 2021. DCSS notes that this is the first year-over-year decline in the foldable space and suspects that the iPhone 14 may have had a hand in this decline.

Still, Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, predicts things will pick up in 2023 as more players introduce foldables, with shipments expected to reach as much as 17 million.

"While the foldable market stalled in Q4'22, due in part to being steamrolled by the iPhone 14 launch as well as the weak global economy, it is still very much a bright spot for the smartphone and display markets reaching new highs and gaining share," notes Young.

"Six different smartphone brands are expected to have at least a 3% share and we see 10 brands shipping foldable devices in 2023 including a new entrant from China."

Young points to OPPO's upcoming smartphones, such as the Find N2, as notable entrants, as well as the oft-rumored Pixel foldable. As a result, Samsung's foldable market share is expected to drop from 78% in 2022 to 72% in 2023. The OPPO Find N2 Flip is also likely to become the fourth most popular foldable in Q1 2023. The Find N2 Flip will feature a clamshell design and likely come at a lower price tag than its larger counterpart. It will likely take after Samsung's popular Galaxy Z Flip series, which has banked on its compact, stylish design and more affordable price to become the best foldable phone of 2023.

As for the Pixel foldable, rumors point to a launch around Google I/O 2023, which could steal some of Samsung's thunder as it gears up to launch its successors later in the year.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.