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Foldable Phone Market Sees 264 Percent Growth in a Year, Projected to Hit $29 Billion in Value by 2025: IDC

Foldable phone shipments worldwide that include both flip and fold form factors hit 7.1 million units in 2021, up from just 1.9 million units.

Foldable Phone Market Sees 264 Percent Growth in a Year, Projected to Hit $29 Billion in Value by 2025: IDC

Photo Credit: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (left) and Galaxy Z Flip 3 (right) both helped grow popularity of foldables

Highlights
  • Foldable phone market is forecast to reach 27.6 million units in 2025
  • Flip and fold are the two form factors in the foldable phone market
  • Foldable phones made up a third of the premium Android market in 2021

Foldable phone market worldwide grew over 264 percent between 2020 and 2021 and will reach 27.6 million units in 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.9 percent from 2020 to 2025, according to a report. The market currently consists of flip and fold form factors with Samsung as the dominating player. The South Korean company last year introduced Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 as its latest models in the new form factors that are arguably the most popular foldable phones right now.

Market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said in its latest report that worldwide shipments of foldable phones that include both flip and fold form factors hit 7.1 million units in 2021. The shipments resulted in a growth of 264.3 percent over the 1.9 million units shipped in 2020, the firm said.

IDC predicted that the growth in the foldable phones category would continue over the years and reach the 27.6 million units mark with a market value of whopping $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,500 crore) in 2025.

As per the data shared by the firm, the share of foldable phones in the smartphone market in 2021 was 0.5 percent, but it is estimated to increase to 1.8 percent in 2025.

The CAGR of foldable phone shipments from 2020 to 2025 is also predicted to be bigger when compared with the 3.1 percent growth rate of regular smartphone shipments.

Worldwide foldable phone market growth as per IDC

Form Factor 2021 Shipments (in million) 2021 Market Share 2025 Shipments (in million) 2025 Market Share 2020-2025 CAGR
Foldable 7.1 0.5 percent 27.6 1.8 percent 69.9 percent
Smartphone 1,341.8 99.5 percent 1,491.3 98.2 percent 3.1 percent
Total 1,348.9 100.0 percent 1,518.9 100.0 percent 3.5 percent

 

In 2021, the growth was largely attributed to Samsung's success with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3.

IDC Research Director Nabila Popal underlined that despite a small share in the market, foldable phones made up a third of the premium (over $1,000) Android market last year.

“Although the Flip seems to be more popular, it is still too early in the game to declare a clear winner,” said Popal. “Vendors should continue to keep a close eye on the overall foldable market as it continues to grow and attract new players to the market.”

IDC noted that foldable phones represented the most innovative visual change to happen to smartphones. Although the adoption of considering foldables as a replacement for both a phone and tablet remains low, vendors in the market are targeting business users with enticing offers in their lineup, the firm said.

“The recent success of the foldable devices from Samsung has given new life to the category as competitors rush to enter the market,” said IDC Research Manager Anthony Scarsella. “We have already witnessed other vendors launching new foldables this year, and we expect more players to attempt to take share away from Samsung as the form factor grows in popularity.”

Last year, smartphone manufacturers including Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi jumped into the bandwagon of foldable phones by introducing their models — namely the Oppo Find N, Huawei P50 Pocket, and Mi Mix Fold.

Companies including Google are also rumoured to launch their foldable phones in the coming future. This would increase the competition among the vendors and ultimately result in more choices at different price segments.

Alongside working on the hardware side, Google and Samsung are also improving software specifically for foldable phones to make it more adaptive and distinct from what we have on regular smartphones.

Google last year announced Android 12L as its operating system meant for form factors including foldable phones. We can expect some special features meant for foldables as a part of Android 13 as well.


How does the Oppo Find N improve over Galaxy Z Fold 3? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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