The foldable segment will grow at a faster pace than the overall market, suggests a new report from DSCC.
Sales are forecasted to grow 128 percent to 5.1 million units from 2.2 million units in 2020, which was a staggering 1000 percent increase from 2019.
This would still be a small share compared to total projected sales of 1.5 billion, but the estimated pace of growth is notable given that the wider market is expected to grow a little more than 11 percent this year.
Most of this growth will materialize in the second half of the year, largely because Samsung, the current market leader, has delayed the launch of its foldable smartphones until the third quarter of 2021. Most other companies, including new players, are also expected to release their products towards the end of the year. More specifically, we will likely see at least 12 new foldable and rollable phones from eight manufacturers in Q4 2021.
The market will somewhat be held by UTG and driver IC shortages. Growth is expected to continue into 2022 with the introduction of new products and supply chain expansion.
Quarterly Rollable/Foldable Smartphone Shipments
Samsung is expected to release at least three bendable phones this year, including the Z Fold 3, which will apparently replace the Note series as the chaebol’s new flagship range. DSCC CEO Ross Young also believes that the company will release a competitively priced variant of the Z Flip. The OG model was the most popular foldable phone in 2020 with a share of 50 percent.
The current high price of foldable phones has limited accessibility and affordable models will remove that barrier.
New entrants like Google, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo will likely launch in-folding, Z Fold 2-type devices, with display varying from 7.1-inches to 8.2-inches. Book-type foldable phones are expected to account for 49 percent of total sales, the remaining will presumably be split between clamshells and rollable phones.
Samsung is expected to maintain its lead, but its share is estimated to drop slightly from 87 percent in 2020 to 81 percent this year. This is actually good news for the South Korean giant, as these ‘competitors’ are expected to fuel growth in foldable panel sales. The company will begin selling foldable displays with Ultra-thin Glass (UTG) to other brands from the second half of the year.