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Foldable smartphones and displays surge in Q3 2023; Samsung leads but faces rising competition

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked: Galaxy Z Flip5 unveiled for $999

The third quarter of 2023 marked a historic moment in the world of foldable smartphones and displays, with Samsung leading the charge. However, the landscape is shifting as competitors gain ground, according to DSCC’s Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report.

In Q3 2023, the market for foldable smartphones witnessed an impressive surge, growing 215% quarter-over-quarter and 16% year-over-year, reaching a record seven million units. This growth was spurred by the launch of Samsung’s Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, along with other models, particularly from Chinese manufacturers.

Samsung, maintaining its dominance, captured a 72% market share in Q3, albeit a decrease from last year’s 86%. The European market primarily fueled this demand. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 emerged as the top-selling model, claiming a 45% share, followed by the Z Fold 5 with a 24% share. Huawei, with a 9% share, and Honor, at 8%, trailed behind but showed significant growth.

However, the forecast for Q4 2023 paints a different picture. DSCC anticipates a 35% quarter-over-quarter decline in foldable phone shipments, although a 47% year-over-year increase is expected, totaling 3.6 million units. This downturn is attributed to lower-than-expected shipments from Samsung and delays in new product launches.

Samsung’s market share is projected to plummet to 42% in Q4, a stark contrast to the previous year’s 83%. This decline is largely due to anticipated lower shipments of the Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. In contrast, Huawei and Honor are set to make significant gains, with Huawei’s share expected to jump to 21% and Honor’s to 19%.

The Mate X5 from Huawei is poised to become the second most popular model, following the Z Flip 5. The Honor Magic V2 is also expected to climb the ranks, potentially becoming the third best-selling model.

Looking at the broader picture for 2023, foldable phones are projected to grow by 23%, reaching 15.8 million units. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Z Fold 5, Z Flip 4, Honor Magic V2, and Huawei Mate X5 are anticipated to be the year’s top models.

Talking about the foldable display shipments, it surged 106% quarter-on-quarter and 41% year-on-year to record 8.9 million units in Q3 2023. Samsung Display, although leading with a 74% share in Q3, is facing stiff competition from BOE and Visionox. In the first quarter of 2024, BOE is expected to surpass Samsung Display, driven by high volumes at Huawei, Honor, and Oppo.

“2023 has been a mixed year for foldables. While we’ve seen significant strides in the technology and new market entrants, the high-end Android smartphone market’s sluggishness has impacted overall volumes,” DSCC’s chief Ross Young said.

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