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Worldwide foldable phones market poised for a 50% increase

International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of foldable phones, including flip and fold form factors, to reach 21.4 million units in 2023. This represents an increase of more than 50% over the 14.2 million units shipped in 2022. An updated IDC forecast projects that foldable phone shipments will reach 48.1 million units in 2027 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.6% from 2022 to 2027.

Foldable phones remain the one positive talking point in a market that declined more than 11% in 2022. This segment’s recent success and forecast growth highlight a healthy demand for this growing form factor. Although average selling prices (ASPs) are dropping slightly, foldables remain in the premium price segments in all regional markets. Despite the expected drop in ASP (-6.8% in 2023), IDC has witnessed vast improvements in durability and build while the overall user experience has been elevated with advancements in software and hardware across all vendors. More models from both new and current vendors are expected to bring further improvements and enhancements to the category to help drive continued adoption.

“The foldable phone market finished slightly higher than previously forecast as consumers start to embrace the new form factor,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. “A 10% decline in ASP helped the market grow 75.5% in 2022, as foldable devices became more affordable in numerous markets. 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%.”

Worldwide Foldable Phone Shipments, Market Share, and 2022-2027 CAGR (shipments in millions of units)
Form Factor 2022 Shipments 2022 Market Share 2027 Shipments* 2027 Market Share* 2022-2027 CAGR*
Foldable 14.2 1.2% 48.1 3.5% 27.6%
Smartphone 1,191.6 98.8% 1,322.9 96.5% 2.1%
Total 1,205.8 100.0% 1,371.0 100.0% 2.6%
Source: IDC, Worldwide Foldable Smartphone Forecast, 2023–2027, March 2023.

“A plethora of new models from current and new vendors hitting the market later this year can only reiterate the recent success and increased demand we are currently witnessing in the market,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team. “Foldables were a key focal point at Mobile World Congress this year as vendors were eager to show off new models and concept devices. With the smartphone market declining over 11% last year, consumers need new motivation to go out and upgrade to something that can wow them. Foldable devices currently bring that ‘wow factor’ and I believe they will continue to grab more headlines and outperform non-foldable smartphones over the next five years.”

CT Bureau

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