Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge
Samsung wants you to know its foldables haven’t flopped. In a recent blog post, the company said it sold four times more foldable devices in 2021 than 2020. It attributes this success to the arrival of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, which, in our own reviews, we hailed as a step toward mainstream usability thanks to their refined designs and lower prices. Samsung says sales for these two devices in their first month alone exceeded “total accumulative sales of Samsung foldable devices in 2020.”
These are promising metrics for the slow ascension of foldable phones, though you should bear in mind that Samsung isn’t sharing hard sales data. Instead, it pointed to the fact that its increases were greater than predictions made by third-party analysts, who suggested that total shipments from all manufacturers for foldable devices would hit 9 million in 2021.
If Samsung thinks this figure is useful enough to cite — and with the company thought to account for around 88 percent of the total foldable markets — we can guess that its sales were in the high single-digit millions or pushing into the low tens of millions. These numbers are expected to increase tenfold by 2023, with Samsung taking a smaller slice of the market as rival manufacturers like Oppo and Huawei join the foldable fun. Also predicted by some for 2023: a foldable iPhone, which would really boost the segment.
Samsung also says that its decision to push forward early with foldable devices has paid off in terms of converting customers. It says that “compared to the Galaxy Note 20, Samsung has seen a 150 percent increase in consumers who switched smartphone brands for the Galaxy Z Flip 3.” If you want to attract new money, it helps to offer something unique.