Samsung (KS: 005930 ) has recently addressed rumors about introducing a sub-$500 Galaxy Z Flip in 2024, hinting instead at a more cost-effective foldable phone option. This comes as market research indicates a surge in the folding handset segment, with sales expected to surpass 25 million units by 2024.
The folding smartphone market, which currently represents a mere 1% of global smartphone sales, is anticipated to grow significantly due to the introduction of more affordable models. Samsung, the market leader in this niche, is planning to launch at least one budget-friendly folding phone next year. Huawei is also expected to introduce similar models in Asia, aiming to make these innovative devices more accessible and increase their market reach.
Despite recent declines in overall smartphone sales, the folding phone sector has seen growth, with 14.2 million units sold worldwide in 2022 out of nearly 1.2 billion total smartphones. Samsung's global presence and Chinese brands' focus on their local market have propelled this expansion. In the second half of 2023 alone, around a dozen new folding models were released, primarily in China. One such model, Motorola (NYSE: MSI )'s Razr 40, has experienced limited success with its €899 (EUR1 = USD1.0855) price tag.
TrendForce predicts that folding smartphone sales will climb to over 18 million units this year and forecasts more than double-digit growth in 2024, capturing over 2% of the market share. The potential for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) to enter the foldable smartphone arena could further accelerate this growth trend. However, Canalys offers a more conservative outlook, not expecting any significant uptick in sales for several years.
Speculation continues about Samsung's future offerings despite their denial of an under $500 Galaxy Z Flip for the coming year. The rumored Galaxy Z Flip FE could be Samsung's answer to Motorola's mid-range Razr (2023), potentially following the pricing strategy of Samsung’s Fan Edition series, which offers flagship features at more competitive prices by making certain hardware compromises.
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