Global foldable smartphone shipments are expected to grow 52% YoY in 2023 to reach 22.7 million units, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Foldable Smartphone Market Forecast Q3 2022 report. For 2022, analysts forecast that global foldable shipments are expected to amount to 14.9 million units.

The cumulative shipments in Q1-Q3 2022 grew 90% YoY to 9.5 million units. However, the growth of global foldable smartphone shipments is set to decline in Q4 2022 due to global inflation and the economic downturn.

The global foldable market will likely see stronger competition in 2023 as more Chinese OEMs are expected to enter the space. Samsung continues to lead the foldable smartphone market. HONOR, Motorola, and Xiaomi are expected to enter the foldable smartphone market outside China in earnest. Huawei, OPPO, and vivo are also expected to launch new foldable products in 2023. As the competition increases, prices are also expected to reduce in 2023.

“The numbers are tiny when put in the context of the broader market, but looking at the ever-important ultra-premium segment ($1,000 and above), we’re seeing foldable start to take hold,” notes Tarun Pathak, director of Counterpoint’s global smartphone practice. “In that category, foldable hit double-digit shipment shares this year, and we expect it to rise above 20% in 2023.”

Despite the rise in shipments, high prices are a major obstacle in the popularisation of foldable devices. “In 2023, competition is set to intensify in the global foldable smartphone market as the number of participating OEMs will increase," says Jene Park, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research.

China is seeing an increase in demand for foldable smartphones. Samsung launched the Galaxy W 23 flip/fold in China recently. As more Chinese OEMs expand to the Western European market, the China and Western Europe foldable markets will likely become the centre of a fierce battle. The smartphone market leader Apple Inc, however, has shied away from entering the thriving market segment. "For now, it’s just a waiting game on guidance and listening to the rumour mill like the rest of the market,” says Park.

In its Q3 2022 Market Monitor report published this month, Counterpoint said the global smartphone market declined by 12% YoY but grew 3% QoQ to 301.9 million units in Q3 2022. Apple was the only top-five smartphone brand to grow in Q3 2022 on a YoY basis. Samsung’s shipments declined by 7% YoY in Q3 2022, even though its shares were constant from last quarter. Chinese smartphone majors OPPO and vivo saw a double-digit YoY decline in their respective shipments. Asia Pacific alone contributes 52.3% of the smartphone market, followed by Europe with a 14% share.

In smartphone shipment dominance, Oppo leads the chart in Asia at 16%, while Apple leads the tally in North America. South Korean smartphone maker Samsung remains on top in key markets of Europe, Latin America and the Middle East and African countries.

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