International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of foldable phones, including flip and fold form factors, to reach 13.5 million units in 2022. This represents an increase of 66.6% over the 8.1 million units shipped in 2021. An updated IDC forecast projects foldable phone shipments will reach 41.5 million units in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.7% from 2022 to 2026.
The healthy growth of the foldable market has been led by Samsung with its Flip and Fold lineup. We expect the newly updated models will outperform their predecessors and grab more consumer attention in the category. The commercial segment of the market remains ripe for utilizing foldables as two-in-one devices that can replace both a phone and a tablet. Although IDC still believes this use case remains a low priority, falling prices and new business use cases make the idea more appealing moving forward. Next year will bring 55.1% growth for foldables with continued double-digit growth throughout the forecast period.
“The recent launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 will once again shine a spotlight on the entire category as Samsung continues to be the gold standard for foldable devices in the market,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The new launches from Samsung have brought incremental but critical improvements over their predecessors. The success of these devices should be a strong indicator of how foldables will evolve and capture consumers moving forward. While the price remains a pain point for consumers, the $999 starting price may be accepted by consumers given that most consumer goods have seen price increases due to inflation in 2022.”
|Worldwide Foldable Phone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)|
|Form Factor||2022 Shipments||2022 Market Share||2026 Shipments||2026 Market Share||2021-2026 CAGR|
|Source: IDC, Worldwide Foldable Smartphone Forecast, 2022–2026, September 2022.|
“With almost 70% year-over-year growth expected for foldables in 2022, the biggest question today is whether foldables will become mainstream anytime soon? Unfortunately, the answer is no,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “To me, mainstream means volume, and volume is dominated by cheaper, sub-$400 phones. While it may be tempting for vendors to swoop in with lower selling prices to generate an initial boost in sales, I strongly believe that is not a good move – especially not at the expense of quality and user experience. Foldables should remain a niche and premium flagship device. Instead, vendors should focus on improving user experience and building increased confidence in the category, and generating long-term growth. I believe foldables are the future of premium Android devices even if, as a whole, they are only expected to capture less than 3% of global volume by the end of our forecast period.”
The IDC report, Worldwide Foldable Phone Forecast, 2022–2026 (Doc #US49667922), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide foldable phone market and its expansion and growth by 2026.