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Foldable Shipments Will Double In 2022, Reach 50 Million By 2026: Report

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 AM AH 05
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Foldable smartphones are growing in popularity and could become a norm in the not-so-distant future. A recent data estimate from the Display Supply Chain Consultants (DCSS) shows how this niche market could grow in the coming years.

The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, both of which are in high demand thanks to their lower prices, means quarterly shipments will cross the million mark for the first time in the third quarter this year. DSCC expects shipments of foldable smartphones to reach 2.6 million units in Q3 2021. That will mark a 215-percent Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ) growth from Q2 2021 and a staggering 480 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth from Q3 2020.

Another 46 percent QoQ and 450 percent YoY growth in Q4 2021 will see shipments reach 3.8M units. This growth will continue in 2022 and beyond as more OEMs are preparing to jump on the foldable bandwagon. We could see Google, Honor, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, all launch foldable smartphones later this year or early next year.

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But for 2021, Samsung will hardly have any competition in the market. The Korean firm is expected to capture over 85 percent of the market this year. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 will be the best-selling foldable smartphone in 2021. At $999, this phone is very well positioned to be the door to the foldable world of the future.

DSCC foldable smartphone shipment quarterly breakdown

Yearly foldable shipments could reach 50 million by 2026

DSCC has adjusted its estimates following the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3. It now expects the sales of foldables smartphones to reach 7.5 million units this year, a change of 35 percent from its previous estimate of just above 5 million units. The figure also marks a 232 percent growth in shipments from last year. Shipments of foldable smartphones could more than double to 15.9 million units in 2022, again a notable 20 percent rise from previous estimates.

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By 2026, these futuristic devices could be selling upwards of 50 million units in a year. As you can see in the graph below, the foldable market will grow at a rapid rate over the next five years.

DSCC foldable smartphone shipment estimates through 2026

The notable rise in the forecast for 2021 through 2025 is also indicative of the fact that a lower entry price of foldable devices could greatly influence sales. Samsung this year launched its new foldables significantly cheaper than last year. The company is now further looking to reduce the price point in 2022.

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Moreover, with competition seemingly growing in the coming years, both between OEMs and component suppliers, the production cost will surely come down. In turn, the devices should be more affordable. So this graph may look a lot different by the end of next year. There’s surely a lot to look forward to in the foldable smartphone market.