Q3 2023 sees record foldable sales, Samsung leads the market

The foldable smartphone market had a strong Q3 2023. Thanks to the arrival of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5, shipments grew a whopping 215% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) from Q2 and 16% year-on-year (YoY) from the same period last year. Unsurprisingly, Samsung was the biggest foldable vendor this past quarter. However, its market share dropped a little compared to Q3 2022.

Samsung is feeling the heat of growing competition in the foldable market

According to the display industry experts at DSCC, seven million foldable smartphones were shipped globally in the third quarter of this year. It is a new quarterly shipment record. The previous high was 6.1 million in Q3 2022 when Samsung launched its fourth-gen foldables. The market exceeded expectations, which bodes well for the future of the foldable industry.

Samsung, whose market share usually peaks in the third quarter thanks to new arrivals, accounted for 72% of all foldable sales in Q3 2023. It also had the top two best-selling models—Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a 45% share and Galaxy Z Fold 5 with a 24% share. No other vendor or foldable model reached a 10% market share this past quarter. Huawei and Honor followed the Korean firm distantly.

While it may sound like Samsung is unchallenged in the foldable market, that isn’t completely true. Yes, it has led the shipment chart for every quarter ever since foldables came into existence. After all, the Korean behemoth has been the only firm selling these unconventional phones globally since 2019. However, that’s changing rapidly as more companies enter the scene.

Effectively, Samsung’s market share is declining. In Q3 2022, it had an 86% share, which dropped to 72% this year. Moreover, DSCC projects its market share to come down from 83% in Q4 2022 to 42% in the final quarter of 2023. Huawei and Honor are both expected to see a surge in their share, reaching about 20%. The total foldable shipments may reach 3.6 million in Q4 this year, with full-year shipments reaching 15.8 million.

BOE may become the biggest foldable display maker in Q4

It may be a double whammy for Samsung in the foldable industry this year. On one hand, its foldable smartphone market share is declining. On the other hand, the firm’s display arm may lose the crown of the biggest foldable display maker to its Chinese rival BOE in Q4. The latter supplies foldable OLED panels to Huawei, Honor, and Oppo, the three biggest vendors after Samsung. China Star and Visionox are other notable foldable display makers.

Global foldable display market Q3 2023Global foldable display market Q3 2023