The global smartphone market is shifting its focus towards the premium segment, which offers higher profitability and resilience to economic downturns. In 2022, despite the overall decline in global smartphone sales, the premium market saw growth, with foldable smartphones capturing an increasing proportion of this market. It is projected that global foldable smartphone shipments will grow at a six-year CAGR of 114% from 2019 to 2025.
Chinese smartphone OEMs have played a significant role in driving growth in the foldable segment. With a mature supply ecosystem, strong partnerships with Chinese internet companies and aggressive product offerings, China has risen to be the world’s largest market for foldable smartphones, capturing a 26% share in 2022. We expect that Chinese smartphone OEMs will continue their success in the home market and further gain market share through overseas expansion.
Foldable smartphones have evolved through several generations since their introduction in 2019. Transitioning from the exploratory phase of the first generation, the focus shifted to the second generation with the aim of enhancing the practicality of foldable devices for everyday use. The current foldable models have seen huge improvements that can challenge flat-screen flagship models. We expect the next generation of foldable phones to surpass traditional flagships in overall performance and offer users an unprecedented experience.
Overall, the foldable market is poised for further growth due to technological advancements, declining prices, and the expanding presence of Chinese OEMs in overseas markets. This segment represents a key area of opportunity within the broader global smartphone industry.