Foldable Phone Market Will Hit $29 Billion in 2025, IDC Says
The success of Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 has increased interest in flip and fold model smartphones.
Dan AveryFormer Writer
Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
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The foldable phone market continues to skyrocket, with more than 7 million flip and fold units sold in 2021 alone.
That's an increase of over 260% from the 1.9 million models shipped in 2020, according to a new report from telecom market intelligence firm International Data Corporation, which projects that around 27.6 million flip phones will be sold in 2025 at a total estimated market value of $29 billion.
By 2025, fold and flip phone market share could more than triple, according to IDC, representing 1.7% of all mobile phones.
IDC places the model's rapid growth squarely at the feet of Samsung, which released the crowd-pleasing Galaxy Z Flip 3 in August and is expected to drop the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 later this year.
Though the Korean tech giant hasn't released hard sales figures for its foldable phones, it says sales of its foldables quadrupled in 2021.
Foldables are still a small part of the market -- just 0.5% of the phone market in 2021, according to IDC -- but Samsung is managing to peel consumers away from Apple and other competitors. According to information from its trade-in programs and other retail data, Samsung has seen a 150% increase in customers who switched from other smartphone brands to one of its foldables, compared with those who switched from its Galaxy Note 20, AndroidCentral reported, and a 140% increase compared with those who switched from the Galaxy S21.
Samsung's latest launches shattered the two biggest roadblocks to the uptake of foldables, said IDC research director Nabila Popal: "rocket-high average selling price and concerns around durability."
"With their latest devices, Fold 3 and Flip 3, around the $1,000 price point -- and massive improvements in durability -- they showed the world that there is a healthy, even if still small, demand for foldables," Popal told CNET. "In just one quarter, they helped triple the worldwide volume. To me, that is a successful launch." The largest chunk of foldables, about 35%, are in the US market, she added. "There were really strong promotions and trade-in offers with the major operators in the US which really helped."
Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.