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Foldable Smartphones Gain 1% Of The Global Market • The Register – Tech Tribune France

Cross “optimizing site and/or app for folding smartphones” off your to-do list: analyst firm IDC says they won’t be mainstream devices by 2026.

“The biggest question today is will foldables soon become mainstream? Unfortunately, the answer is no,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Popal’s remarks came after IDC predicted that 13.5 million foldable smartphones will ship in 2022, or 1.1% of the total 1.352 billion smartphones expected this year.

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That meager market share took three years to accumulate: Samsung launched its first foldable, the Galaxy Fold in 2019.

IDC predicts compound annual growth of 38.7% for all foldables between 2021 and 2026, but even that impressive number will only represent 2.8% market share over the past year.

The news isn’t all bad, as foldables will far outpace the overall market growth of one percent compound annual growth in the mainstream smartphone market.

Popal thinks foldables could do better if they drop to around $400 — the sweet spot for mainstream affordability. But he doesn’t want that to happen.

“I strongly believe this is not a good decision, especially not at the expense of quality and user experience,” he said.

The analyst would prefer foldables to remain a niche, high-end flagship device.

“Vendors should focus on improving user experience and building to build trust in the category and drive long-term growth,” he said. “I believe foldables are the future of high-end Android devices, although overall they are only expected to capture less than 3% of global volume by the end of our forecast period.”

As high-end handsets are the niche where smartphone makers can often make the biggest margins, Popal’s advice offers them a way to preserve profits by maintaining Samsung’s current positioning on foldables as a symbol. expensive status.

Perhaps that’s why Microsoft, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Huawei all offer foldable phones.

Apple, which dominates the premium handset market, has shown no sign of interest in foldables but is already surprisingly profitable with its usual rounded rectangles. ®