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In brief: The third quarter of 2023 marked a historic period for foldable smartphones, with Samsung leading the way. The celebration could be short lived, however, as the handset maker is expected to lose significant market share in Q4.
According to a new report from Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), foldable smartphone shipments increased 16 percent year over year and 215 percent quarter over quarter in Q3, totaling seven million units. The figure beat expectations and topped the previous high of 6.1 million units shipped in Q3 of 2022.
DSCC said Samsung accounted for 72 percent of the foldable smartphone market in Q3. That is down from 86 percent a year ago but still leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Huawei finished in second place with just a nine percent share followed by Honor with eight percent. For the full year, foldable smartphone shipments are expected to reach 15.8 million units – an increase of 23 percent compared to 2022.
Samsung owes much of its success to its two best-selling foldable models, the Galaxy S Flip 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which captured 45 percent and 24 percent market share in Q3, respectively.
The gap between first place and everyone else is expected to narrow significantly in Q4, however. According to DSCC, Samsung's brand share could fall to around 40 percent with Huawei and Honor climbing closer to the 20 percent mark.
DSCC CEO Ross Young said 2023 has been a mixed year for foldables. The sector benefited from Huawei regaining its footing, new entrants like Google and OnePlus, and overall improvements to device thickness and weight, but the overall sluggishness of the high-end Android market has been a hindrance.
Have you had an opportunity to experience a foldable yet? I had some hands-on time with a Motorola Razr recently and while I was impressed with the image quality of the display, its plastic nature and visible crease was a bit of a turn off.
Image credit: Imad Clicks