According to Canalys forecasts, the cumulative annual growth rate of flexible display smartphone shipments between 2021 and 2024 will be 53%, with sales exceeding 30 million units in 2024. From 2019, when the first significant model of this type was introduced, to 2024, the growth rate will be about 122%. Sales in the foldable smartphone market, dominated by Samsung, are up 148% year-over-year in 2021 despite high model prices, while the smartphone market as a whole is up just 7% over the same period.
According to Canalys, one of the key catalysts for the growth in demand for foldable smartphone models was the great demand for gadgets with large displays during the pandemic and self-isolation. However, the company’s experts expect that with the lifting of restrictions, smartphone manufacturers will open up new opportunities in this area and the market will even receive a new impetus.
Foldable smartphone market
Flexible display models could be a driver of smartphone sales; and are especially attractive to all-new and/or traditional high-end device users. According to Canalys, Android smartphone makers are under quite a lot of pressure in the premium segment; as shipments of new products over $800 fell by 18% compared to 2019 levels; and sales of iOS models rose by 68%; vendors need to increase investment in technology improvement and interfaces in order to continue to attract the most paying customers.
According to Canalys, thanks to Samsung, the flexible display smartphone supply ecosystem has grown rapidly in recent years. There are already many manufacturers of this type of displays themselves, hinges and other key components, and vendors are introducing new technological solutions, while reducing the prices of models. Another “battlefield” is the development of competitive software specific to a given device format; this requires constant investment in software, since it is still far from ideal.
According to a Canalys spokesman, major smartphone vendors are gearing up to compete in this category; which will be a vital part of their high-end strategy and corporate branding. Many new foldable devices will arrive this year; and manufacturers will continue to reduce their thickness, weight; and prices in order for devices to be favorably received by the mass market.
“Major smartphone vendors are getting ready to compete in the foldable category; which will become a vital part of their high-end strategies and corporate branding. We expect this year will see many new foldable device launches as vendors continue reducing thickness, weight and price; which will be vital for mass-market adoption. The leading players will start to flex their muscles in the ecosystem to leapfrog their competitors; with advanced and differentiated experiences,” said Amber Liu, Research Analyst at Canalys.