What drives smartphone buyers to flip and fold?

What drives smartphone buyers to flip and fold?

Samsung, Vivo, OPPO and Huawei have launched foldable phones in India.

Recently, Samsung launched the Z Fold4 and Flip4 smartphones in the Indian market. Flip and fold are the new product innovations in the smartphone category. Consumers in the premium segment are turning to flip and fold phones to make a lifestyle statement.

Foldable phones have always had multiple use cases for people on the go, such as multitasking. But will this foldable phone era last long? Is it really the beginning of a new era?

“In the age of touch screens, a foldable solution is a great solution for packing a larger video experience into a smaller space. So, for me, it’s a fresh start,” said Ritesh Gosal, a solo entrepreneur and startup enthusiast.

According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the foldable phone market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 64% through 2026. This translates to a 20-fold growth in foldable smartphone shipments.

“Foldable devices are definitely the future,” says Prabhu Ram, Head of Industry Intelligence Group at CMR. “Samsung’s tenacity and tenacity with foldable innovations over successive generations has given the brand a strong start over the competition.”

“Foldable phones are an engineering marvel, with continuous research and development focusing on enabling a durable foldable glass screen, robust and smooth hinge mechanism, etc. Foldable devices have reached an inflection point, in terms of shipments as well as consumer acceptance.”

Ram adds: “As we go forward, more innovations will emerge that will contribute to the further popularization of the foldable device. Other smartphone brands are also looking to enter the market, with their foldable devices over the next few years. They are the future. In the short term, Both rectangular and foldable panels will coexist.”

With Samsung hitting the market with foldable phones, China-based companies like Oppo and Vivo are preparing for a new launch. According to media reports, the brand aims to increase the proportion of foldable phones to half of all smartphone sales by 2025.

According to CMR’Launch of the future survey 202187% of Samsung users reported being interested in upgrading to a foldable phone; 67% of Apple iPhone owners indicated interest in adopting a foldable phone as their next smartphone purchase; 76% of OnePlus users and 52% of Vivo users were open to Buy a foldable device.

Do foldable phones make more sense than regular smartphones?

Vivek Bhargava, co-founder of ProfitWheel, which uses a foldable smartphone, said: “This new innovation is incredible. The foldable phone is a very functional device. I have used four versions of the foldable phone.”

Bhargava bought his first foldable phone – the Samsung Galaxy Fold – in 2019, long before the phone was officially launched in the country. He replaced his phone every time Samsung came up with a new foldable version. After using four generations of Samsung Fold, Bhargava said, “Once you start using a foldable phone, it’s very difficult to go back to a regular phone.”

Speaking about the design aspects of foldable phones, Gosal said: “A foldable phone, if not unlocked, is just as good as any other phone, once unlocked, it offers a great video experience. Today, with great data connectivity at very low prices, plus Access to proliferating content such as OTT services, video consumption is as big a reason to carry a phone as calling. So, if people are able to buy a foldable device, I would say it is a better option.”

Although foldable phones are the latest trend, the market in India is still quite relevant. The foldable phone segment made its debut in India in 2019, with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Since then, Samsung has been improving (perfecting) the quality and durability of these phones.

Other companies, such as Oppo and Motorola, are trying to build their influence in this market. Oppo launched its first foldable phone, the Oppo Find N, in 2021, and Motorola launched its first foldable phone, the Moto Razr in 2019. But neither was as successful as Samsung, due to the poor screen, battery life, and price point.

Navkendar Singh, Associate Vice President of IDC, points out, “With the launch of foldable phones, consumers are seeing freshness, in terms of functionality, convenience and how the phone looks, after a very long time. This trend of flip and fold phones is attracting eyeballs, but for a market like India, the price is an obstacle at the moment, in terms of mass adoption.”

Foldable phones are unique in that the screen can be folded like a book. But, says Singh, “the challenge for foldable smartphones is: how to improve the software and user interface for larger and smaller screens.”

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