The foldable smartphones market is experiencing amazing growth with the number of units sold raising to new heights each year.
Last year, the global sales of foldable smartphones were estimated at 12.8 million, but reports indicate that this figure will hit 18.5 million units in 2023. This is highlighted in a report by market research firm TrendForce, which has also said that hinges form one of the most important components of foldable phones. The hinges market is expected to reach $500 million.
“Hinges are responsible for the durability or flex life of the foldable display, the visibility of the fold crease on the display, the feel of flipping the device, and many other functions that are vital to user experience. the quality of hinges will directly affect consumers’ willingness to purchase a foldable smartphone,” says the report
The current designs of hinges are in two main categories; teardrop shaped and U-shaped. The teardrop design contains many complex parts which ultimately makes it more expensive. “TrendForce believes cost pressure will be the foremost issue facing smartphone brands that have adopted teardrop-shaped hinge,” the report elaborates.
Samsung which relies on U-shaped hinges had the largest market share of 82% in 2022. Other smartphone brands had a collective market share of nearly 20%.
TrendForce also notes that the ultra-slim Mix Fold 2 that was recently released by Xiaomi has gained quite some traction in the market. The phone’s most attractive aspect is its slim thickness while folded which is about 11.2mm. This has seen other brands such as HONOR’s Magic Vs and OPPO’s Find N2 adopt the Mix Fold 2 design.
Changing trends for this market were highlighted at the CES 2023, where brands showed off various concept devices featuring foldable displays.
The report concludes: “In the future, the introduction of new kinds of products such as foldable ones could lead to a reshuffling of the smartphone market and radical changes in product positioning strategy across all price segments, from the high-end to the lower range.”