What you need to know
- IDC has a new forecast of foldable smartphones for 2023.
- The upcoming foldable shipments are likely to see a 50% increase this year.
- We might see around 21.4 million units shipped by the end of 2023.
- It will be a huge jump from last year, which witnessed 14.2 million units.
Over the past few years, foldables have evolved significantly. While the competition is yet to match Samsung's level of commercial success, there are excellent alternatives from rivals like Motorola, OPPO, and Huawei, with companies like OnePlus that will start making foldables later this year.
Because of this, we will likely see an increase in global shipments by more than 50%, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). It translates to reaching around 21.4 million units in 2023, which includes all forms of foldables phones, including flip and larger fold form factors. The latest forecast from IDC indicates that 14.2 million foldable units were shipped worldwide in 2022.
IDC also ensures that with the current scenario, the foldable shipments could reach as high as 48.1 million units in 2027, more than double this year's expected amount in just four years from now.
The foldables are often considered a premium smartphone range across all regions worldwide. IDC also implies that despite seeing an 11% drop in the market last year, the foldables have been on the bright side regarding the response they got from the consumer's point of view.
"The foldable phone market finished slightly higher than previously forecast as consumers start to embrace the new form factor," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager of mobile phones at IDC.
The average selling prices (ASPs) are also expected to drop significantly this year, which is a good sign as the form factor becomes more accessible. In addition, OEM makers are competing against each other to improve the durability and builds of their foldable devices; one such example is the recently released Huawei Mate X3, which is the only other foldable outside of Samsung's lineups that features an IP rating for water resistance.
"A 10% decline in ASP helped the market grow 75.5% in 2022, as foldable devices became more affordable in numerous markets," Scarsella added. "With new vendors and models joining the race this year, we expect the foldable market to be the one bright spot in 2023 with 50.5% growth, while the total smartphone market contracts 1.1%."
Alongside the hardware advancements, IDC insists that we could also see several enhancements through software this year from all the vendors that make foldable smartphones.
Currently, some of the best foldable phones that any user can get include the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4. OPPO has Find N2 and Find N2 Flip, and other OEMs like Honor, Tecno, and more have some pretty enticing devices.
On the other hand, the upcoming ones include Google's first Pixel Fold, which is expected to launch later this year. OnePlus also has something interesting in the pipeline, and Vivo is rumored to join the flip phone bandwagon. It looks like just about everyone wants a bit of the foldable market, which means we could see plenty of better and cheaper models this year.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 4 is like having a smartphone and tablet all in one. It has an intuitive UI that makes it easy to multitask on the large screen, and it comes with an improved primary camera that can be used to take better selfies.
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Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.