Analysts expect foldables to surge in 2021 with new devices from Google, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi
Foldable smartphones are still considered a niche product thanks to their sky-high prices and durability concerns associated with the form factor. But as the technology matures and becomes more accessible, more OEMs plan to jump on the foldable bandwagon with their foldable offerings.
Although we aren’t expecting the foldable form factor to replace traditional smartphones anytime soon, analysts expect a significant surge in shipments for foldable phones in 2021. According to Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), foldable/rollable smartphone shipments in Q4 2021 are expected to reach an all-time high and even surpass the combined shipments from Q1 2020 to Q2 2021.
In Q1 2021, the shipments are expected to rise only 1% YOY with a 40% YOY decline due to the lack of new foldable device launches. However, things look much more positive in the second half as DSCC is forecasting the foldable smartphone shipments to reach up to 5.1 million this year, fueled by new entries from Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Google. Samsung will continue to remain the market leader with an 81% market share, the report notes. Samsung’s display division, Samsung Display, will also benefit as the foldables from OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Google are all expected to feature a Samsung panel. This is in line with a report from ETNews in January which revealed Samsung was planning to ship as many as 1 million foldable panels to Chinese OEMs in 2021.
“Samsung Display will begin selling foldable displays with Ultra-thin Glass (UTG) to other brands from 2H’21, leading to a number of new products. In fact, we expect to see at least 12 different foldable and rollable smartphones on the market from at least 8 brands and shipments of more than three million units in Q4’21,” said Ross Young, CEO, DSCC.
In Q4 2020, shipments for foldable smartphones were up 54% quarter over quarter and 242% year-over-year. 2.2 million units were shipped throughout 2020, with Samsung alone accounting for 87% of the market share on a unit basis. The Galaxy Z Flip was the most popular foldable smartphone (with 50% share), followed by the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
With many major OEMs expected to join the foldable party later this year, 2021 will surely be exciting for the growth of foldable smartphones.
Featured image: Huawei Mate X