Global Foldable Phone Shipments Estimated to Reach 5.5 Million in 2020

Mar 05, 2020

It is estimated that the global foldable phone shipments will reach 5.5 million this year as multinational smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, Huawei, and Motorola have launched their foldable smartphones one after the other. It is also expected that the competition between South Korean and Chinese display industries will be intensified as they look to grab the upper hand of the foldable phone market.
According to a market research company called Counterpoint Research and Kiwoom Securities’ Research Center, they estimate that the global foldable smartphone shipments will reach 5.5 million this year. These shipments will be 8 times more than that of last year when shipments were estimated at 700,000. Counterpoint and Kiwoom estimate that the global smartphone shipments will reach 36.8 million by 2023.
“Samsung Electronics alone is planning to ship 4.5 million foldable smartphones this year.” said Kim So-won who is an analyst from Kiwoom Securities’ Research Center. “Considering the fact that other smartphone manufacturers will also start to ship more foldable smartphones this year, 5.5 million is a value that can be achieved without much problem.”

Production line of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Z Flip <Production line of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Z Flip>

It is expected that there will be more demands for foldable display panels based on the growth of the global foldable smartphone market. Samsung Display supplied its foldable panels to Samsung Electronics for “Galaxy Fold”. According to Samsung Electronics, it sold about 500,000 foldable smartphones in 2019. This amount corresponds to more than 70% of the entire sales volume of foldable smartphones in 2019 and it is directly connected to Samsung Display’s market shares in the market.
BOE supplied its foldable panels to Huawei for “Mate X”. It is heard that the sales volume of Mate X in 2019 was less than 200,000. BOE has expanded its supply network by securing Motorola that recently launched its new foldable phone “Razr” as its customer. Although Motorola looked into AUO as its supplier of foldable panels during the early development phase of Razr, it eventually decided to work with BOE considering production yield and others.
According to the industry, Huawei is planning to use Samsung Display’s panels for its new foldable smartphone that is expected to be launched this second half. If Samsung Display is chosen as Huawei’s foldable panel supplier, it will be able to gain even greater market shares.
“Foldable panel shares most of main processes as current flexible OLED panel.” said Kim So-won. “Working with Huawei will be an opportunity for Samsung Display to widen the gap between itself and Chinese panel makers once again.”
Staff Reporter Yoon, Heeseok | pioneer@etnews.com

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