Trendforce posted its forecast for the foldable smartphone market in the next five years, including the rest of 2023. Expectations are shipments in 2023 to reach 18.3 million units, a 1.6% market share, but in 2027, they grow to 70 million, or 5% of the global smartphone market.
The foldable market should increase after reduced costs for manufacturing, as well as availability expansion by Chinese smartphone makers. As the cost of components gets lower, especially of panels and hinges, retail prices for foldables will also decline, going below $1,000.
According to Trendforce, Samsung is projected to push 12.5 million foldable phones this year, taking two-thirds of the market, declining from 82% market share in 2022. Contenders from China like Huawei, with 2.5 million (14% market share) predicted shipments and Oppo and Xiaomi (5% and 4% respectively) being the major reason for Samsung losing some ground.
The main reason for Samsung dominating beyond its head start is the pandemic and the conservative approach from China makers toward overseas shipments. Currently, most Chinese brands are only offering their foldables locally, and once they are ready to expand overseas, the overall foldable market should grow.
Trendforce also mentioned Apple in their report. Cupertino is yet to release a foldable, but analysts assume a foldable iPhone will not arrive before minor issues, such as panel evenness and hinge design, are perfected by component manufacturers.