Samsung expected to be replaced as top foldable phone manufacturer during first quarter

Chances are, if I asked you to name the company that is the top manufacturer of foldable smartphones worldwide, you’d know that it was Samsung. Ever since the company released the Galaxy Fold in 2019 and added the Galaxy Z Flip the following year, Samsung has been the king of foldables. But per Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) a new name is expected to take over from Sammy during the current quarter and it too was one of the earliest to release a foldable phone. That would be Huawei.
First, let’s recap the fourth quarter of 2023. From the start of October through the end of December, 4.2 million foldable phones were shipped which was the fourth-highest quarterly total to date. Samsung continued to lead the foldable market during Q4 2023 even though the number of Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 units sold by retailers was less than expected. Huawei and its former sub-unit Honor picked up market share during the period.
Samsung was responsible for four of the top ten best-selling foldable models during the final three months of last year. Oppo and Honor each had two of their foldable phones on the list while Huawei and Xiaomi each placed one model in the top ten. The list was led by the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with the Huawei Mate X4 next. The rest of the top five include the Honor Magic Vs2, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, and the Oppo Find N3 Flip.
Huawei’s ascension to the top spot will take place in both the first and second quarters of 2024 according to DSCC and will be led by sales of the Mate X5 and the Pocket 2. Samsung won’t be offering its next-generation foldable phones until the third quarter when we expect to see the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 unveiled and released.
DSCC expects Huawei and Honor to raise their shares of the foldable market this year while Oppo and vivo are forecast to lose market share as neither manufacturer plans to refresh their clamshell foldable models due to issues with pricing and demand in China. Nonetheless, clamshell foldables are forecast to increase their overall share of the foldable market this year according to DSCC. Huawei is expected to deliver two new clamshell foldables this year and refreshed models are expected from Honor, Motorola, and Samsung.
For the current first quarter of 2024, DSCC is calling for the global foldable phone market to rise 105% year-over-year.

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