If there’s one person we can almost always rely on for anticipating the movements, changes, and fluctuations of the rapidly expanding foldable market, that’s definitely DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants) CEO Ross Young.
The seasoned industry analyst is also (or rather primarily) good at evaluating the quarterly and annual performance of the world’s top foldable vendors, as well as assessing the (past, present, and future) evolution of the market as a whole.
Samsung is doing great, but it could do better
It’s no big secret that the largest overall smartphone manufacturer has grabbed an early lead in the foldable segment, hitting a home run with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which exceeded even Samsung’s most optimistic initial expectations.
The company’s more affordable foldable handset of 2021 got off to a roaring start at the global box-office roughly six months ago, impressively managing to maintain that momentum into the year’s final quarter, which it concluded at 14 percent higher sales than originally anticipated.
While it’s unclear if the Z Flip 3 began 2022 on the same high note that it ended last year, Galaxy Z Fold 3 demand appears to have “stalled” this quarter after a similarly strong start back in August 2021. Of course, the smaller, cheaper, and more practical of the two devices was also more successful right off the bat, spelling trouble for the eventual mainstream popularity of in-folding models like the Z Fold 3.
That may never come, at least not for a long time, although Samsung is expected to continue trying hard to make the Z Fold family happen, among others by building an S Pen silo into a next-gen variant with a slightly larger primary screen and smaller cover display yielding a wider aspect ratio.
All in all, Samsung grabbed a towering 88 percent of the nearly 8 million foldable smartphones shipped around the world in 2021, crucially contributing to an expectation-busting 254 percent year-on-year growth and essentially making every other global player irrelevant… for the time being.
No Apple competition on the horizon, but Google is coming fast
If you’ve been breathlessly waiting for an iPhone Fold to arrive on a white horse and give the increasingly popular Galaxy Z Flips and Z Folds a run for their money, it might be a good idea to breathe and find something else to buy while waiting.
Pixel Fold concept renders designed ahead of originally predicted 2021 release.
That gives you plenty of time to try out an Android foldable for a full “normal” smartphone lifecycle before the iPhone Fold materializes (or not), and said Android foldable can for instance be Google’s rookie Galaxy Z Fold-rivaling effort.
Initially rumored to hit store shelves in 2021, the Pixel Fold (name unconfirmed) could ultimately see daylight in October 2022 with a 7.6-inch main display and a 5.8-inch cover screen in tow. That would make this a “landscape device”, much like the recently released Oppo Find N and a number of other unspecified wide boys forecasted to come out this year as well.
But Galaxy Z Flip 3-style “clamshell” devices are likely to reign supreme in the foldable category with more than 14 million unit shipments in 2022, boosted by TCL and Xiaomi’s expected entries in the sub-category and Motorola’s long overdue Razr 3. Xiaomi’s first clamshell foldable, mind you, could trump the Huawei P50 Pocket for the title of top-selling non-Samsung foldable this year, while something tells us the Pixel Fold will either be mighty hard to come by or wildly overpriced when/if it launches. Or both.