Game Of Phones: Samsung No Longer Leads All Foldables In Market Share

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A new report has shown that Samsung is no longer leading in the foldable smartphone market in the first quarter of this year—the title now belongs to Huawei. While that's hard to fathom for those of us in the U.S., seeing how the Korean brand performed compared to other brands globally paints a stark picture. Let's take a closer look.

The latest sales numbers for Q1 2024 foldable smartphones are in and it looks like Samsung might be shaking in its boots. According to a report by market analyst Counterpoint Research, Huawei completely obliterated the Korean giant with a year-to-year growth of 257% this quarter. Already the second biggest smartphone maker in the world, Huawei now has a 35% share of global shipments on foldables, which includes both book-style and clamshell-style foldables. 

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In comparison, interest in Samsung's aging Galaxy Z Fold and Flip devices waned to the point that the company holds only a 23% share of global shipments. Last year at this time, that number hovered at 58%, so if Samsung's management team isn't nervous yet, it should be.

Two contributing factors to the poor performance include the fact that consumers haven't seen Samsung bring anything new to the table between the Z Fold/Flip 4 and 5, and how the competition (such as the OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold) offer form factors that are ergonomically superior for daily use, especially in closed mode. The Fold 4 and 5 have frequently been chided for their tall, narrow 6.2-inch 23.1:9 aspect ratio displays that aren't ideal for typing and scrolling social apps, for example.

It's not only Huawei rejoicing either. Other brands like Honor and Motorola are seeing significant success all over the world. Between Q1 2023 and Q1 2024, Honor's numbers jumped 460% thanks mostly to its Magic V2 foldable. Even more impressive is Motorola: with its Razr (2023) and budget-friendly Razr Plus, the Lenovo-owned brand leaped a staggering 1,473% year-to-year. 

If this kind of news isn't a wake up call for Samsung, we can expect the company to fall further behind as other brands continue to innovate while keeping value quotient high. Word continues to break that the Z Fold/Flip 6 may not only see improved camera packages, larger batteries, and new folding mechanisms, but—in the Z Fold 6's case—be joined by a cheaper FE version. Will these be enough to break the drought? We'll find out soon enough.